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Archive for January 29th, 2008

By Thomas E. Brewton

Liberals propose to follow the same game plan that gave us stagflation in the 1970s.

As success with the military surge in Iraq increasingly belies their claim that the war is already irretrievably lost, liberals have changed the subject from Iraq to the economy and the rising possibility of a recession. Liberal Republicans and Democrats, as usual, prescribe Federal deficit spending and higher taxes on "the rich."

That is the doctrine of Keynesian economics, which advocates consumer spending as the exclusive highway to full employment and prosperity. According to Keynes, consumer and business savings must be offset by massively increased Federal spending. What the money is spent for doesn’t matter; just flood the market with money created by bookkeeping entries at the Federal Reserve banks.

Keynesian economics failed to end the Depression. Its repetition, as we saw in the bitter experience of Great Society stagflation in the 1970s, discouraged investment in projects of long term value and led to speculations that promised high rates of return in the short-run.

For example, during the 1970s stagflation, is was only marginally profitable to build rental apartments, because the rate of return on those investments was far below the inflation rate. What occurred, instead, was an unprecedented boom in hotel construction, because room rates could be increased every day. By 1980, there was a shortage of rental apartments and an oversupply of hotels.

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By Warner Todd Huston

The west’s current battle with radical Islam has revealed the worst in both the west and the world of Islam. Obviously from Islam we have seen the intolerance, hatred, oppression and evil in its nature. But, from the west we have seen revealed the hollowness of its soul and a complete lack of self-regard as so many western nations allow the evil of Islam to attack them from within as well as from without. The west has lost its spine to stand up for its own principles, in fact has thrown away all pretext that it even has principles worth preserving.

Ben Franklin is reported to have said that for the American people the Founders had created a Republic but he added the caution "if you can keep it." By that he meant, of course, that it was up to future Americans to maintain the system grounded upon the first principles the Founders bequeathed to us. The same can be said of any society for if a society throws away or strays too far from its beginnings it becomes a materially different entity. Now sometimes it’s a good thing when a society strays from its genesis, to be sure. Leaving behind certain prejudices, rectifying the suppression of ideas or ending the oppression of minorities is the mark of a maturing, benevolent society. But, too much change can also be a bad thing. And change merely for changes sake is not a legitimate goal.

This dual reliance on conserving tradition while moving forward to liberalize society is familiar ground for the west in general and the United States in particular. The Founders clearly believed that both liberalization and conservatism could be enshrined in a modern state. After all, the whole thrust of the Founders’ ideology was that they were combining a preservation of the best of English tradition with the liberalization of government by the consent of the people and the ideals of religious liberty.

To the American Founders, these were principles well worth fighting for. Read the rest of this entry »

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