Republican candidate Mitt Romney may be "a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard," because all evidence, both in word and deed, says Romney is beholden to the cult of Keynesian economics.
In a nutshell, Keynesian economic theory claims that a lack of consumer spending causes a downturn in the business cycle, which in turn causes people to lose their jobs and/or make less money and therefore spend less themselves, creating a vicious downward spiral of economic decline. The Keynesian prescription to remedy this downward spiral is to increase consumer spending by having the government increase deficit spending, artificially reduce interest rates, and otherwise print money out of thin air.
Keynesian mythology boils everything down to the "virtue" of spending. Financial prudence and saving are vices. What the money is spent on doesn't really matter either, as one "investment" is just as good as another. So whether the government "invests" in solar panels and "Bridges to Nowhere," an entrepreneur builds a factory, or you simply buy a hot dog … it's all the same. Because spending is all that matters.
Sound crazy? Am I making this up? John Maynard Keynes famously argued that if "the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal mines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise … to dig the notes up again … there need be no more unemployment." Today's most famous Keynesian prophet, Paul Krugman, argued just last year that scientists should "fake an alien threat … in order to get some fiscal stimulus."
If you just cut, if all you're thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you'll slow down the economy. -- Willard "Mitt" Romney, Shelby Township, MI (February 21, 2012)
I warned you about Romney's Keynesian baggage last year. In November 2008, Romney's economic advisor (and text book hustler) Gregory Mankiw, wrote in the New York Times: "If you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there is little doubt that the economist would be John Maynard Keynes," before going on to recommend "precisely the plan that the incoming Obama administration has in mind."
Romney himself declared in a December 2008 article for National Review Online, "this is surely the time for economic stimulus," before arguing that the "Fed should continue to expand the money supply" and "infrastructure projects should be a high priority." Talk about pure Keynes … Haven't we had enough of this crap already?
Unless you like the current Big Government/Big Debt status quo, there's nothing whatsoever to like about Mitt Romney (whose economic policies will mirror those of Obama in every way outside the accompanying cheap rhetoric). So, as Cato's Dan Mitchell asks: "What is it about Mitt Romney?"
The United States desperately needs smaller government, lower taxes, and less intervention, yet his comments and track record on issues such as the value-added tax, healthcare, Social Security reform, budget savings, ethanol subsidies, and the minimum wage leave a lot to be desired.
We can now add something else to the list. The former Massachusetts governor has come out of the closet as a Keynesian.
Leftwing pundits, on the other hand, believe they've found a kindred spirit. Paul Krugman confirms that Romney "is, in fact, a closet Keynesian." And Business Insider's pro-government/pro-interventionist writer Joe Weisenthal declares: "It's More Clear Than Ever That If Romney Loses, The Economy Is Going To Implode"
Back in April we made the argument that a Mitt Romney win would be better for the economy, based on fairly simple logic: A Mitt Romney victory would see higher government deficits, which is just what this struggling economy needs right now to regain full health.
If Obama wins, there's a good chance that we'll fly off the fiscal cliff, as the political gridlock will see spending cuts kick in, and perhaps even higher taxes.
Got that? A Romney presidency means "higher government deficits."
If Romney wins … Republicans will drop their opposition to government spending and deficits. That's because parties in power always support higher deficits and spending. It's just what they do.
We'd love to hear someone say with a straight face that Republicans, if given full power, would seriously stick to their principles of limiting government. Opposing deficits is strictly the purview of the opposition party.
Sad, but true.
So the Keynesian choice is Romney.
And as Matt Yglesias makes clear in his latest column for Slate, this choice is actually even more urgent.
[I]n the subtitle of his column: House Republicans just reneged on the debt-ceiling deal, making a default in 2013 almost inevitable.
If Mitt Romney wins that may not be a problem, as he and congressional Republicans could just quickly lift the ceiling. But if Obama's still in office, we're looking at a potential disaster. Having won concessions by using the debt ceiling as leverage in the past, the GOP isn’t going to quietly go back to the old complain-and-agree approach. But there's no way Democrats can bargain with a party that’s so eager to wriggle out of the terms of deals.
So again, it's clear that if you want higher spending … Romney is the choice.
The progressive group Media Matters giddily reported back in September 2011 that, Romney's economic philosophy not only puts "some daylight between Romney and his party," but also matches that of The One™. David Axelrod has even promoted Romney's economic fallacies. He's a lost cause.
But but, but … We gotta beat Obama!
If you're simply getting more of the same damn thing, who exactly, are you really beating?
Mitt Romney has been unable to win more than 25% of the Republican vote for the party's presidential nomination for more than a year. This is because the former Massachusetts governor is not a pro-growth Republican. Instead, his economic platform reflects a man who is devoutly Keynesian, and who, as president, would not be able to reinvigorate the U.S. economy.