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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Linking to Kad Barma

Over at choosing a soundtrack (the Blogger lacks a Caps key on his keyboard) we have this post:  "the "you didn't build that" apologists just don't get it".  His is the view from the crowd that dislikes both parties; sincerely dislikes both parties.

Kad talks about the size of the Administration's Economic Stimulous.  As I recall, Ms Christina Romer, a "New Keynesian" on the Administration's Council of Economic Advisers, recommended a $1.8 Trillion Stimulus package, but the infamous Harvard President, Larry Summers, killed that number as politically unacceptable and put forward $800 Billion, which did pass.  Do I think $1.8 T was the right number?  If you are a Keynesian, yes.  If you are not, then $800 B was too big.  It is unlikely there is a compromise number.

Regards  —  Cliff


Anonymous said...

Kad is Korrect.

Jack Mitchell said...

Incorrect: "...because it expressed a decided priority to nominate government infrastructure ahead of individual entrepreneurship as the panacea to all our woes."

The language of both Obama and Warren did highlight public works/infrastructure as a Keynesian model. There is a proven track record from FDR's "TVA" to Eisenhower's "Interstate Highway System" to Al Gore's "Fiber Optic Superhighway" of success. We need construction jobs and public works is a good way to get some.

However ...

The larger point, not blatant to the 'bumper sticker braintrust,' is that the Gov't facilitates so much enterprise and entrepreneurialism. Look no further than Mitt Romney's "small business" props. They lecture us while they have the goverment teat in their mouth. Mr. Gilchrist isn't building a dam or road. He is helping build naval vessels, using low interest loans to carry his busness towards more government contracts. But, hey, that's what Uncle Sam is there for!

I do agree with this point: ... are we going to make a priority of the leaning-ever-so-slightly-towards-socialist powers of government to provide infrastructure, or are we going to prioritize the leaning-ever-so-slightly-towards-robber-baronism entrepreneurial powers of small business, to get us out of this cluster-f(edit) of an economic morass into which runaway government spending has placed us? or are we going to try to see both for their flaws, as well as their indispensable strengths?

We need a tug of war. America grows stronger in the stretch. Or, as I said to Cliff earlier, 'There is no wrong end of the stick. If one end gets to big, the stick becomes a club.'

Anonymous said...

I would fine tune the commentary in that the term government infrastructure has become synonymous with "government jobs" which once established are very, very difficult to disestablish. Witness the coming tragic drama attendant to the Defense cutbacks.....affecting first the acquisition arm which is heavily composed of Civil Service positions. One can use that as a model for the discussion of the role of government in the creation and maintenance of "jobs." In Defense acquisition, there is a long standing tension between "contract employee" and "civil service" both of which are essentially non-military. However, because of Federal law, the contractor is quite often a highly experienced former military person who exchanges that experience in the Defense marketplace for a wage, which is determined by the contract company, not by the military or the government who establish only qualification and level of expertise required.

The nice thing about government contractors is that there are comparatively easy to get rid of in a crunch. The BAD thing is that those contracts are expensive. They are because there is an entire workforce in each company that exists to administer both the business aspects of corporate processes as well as to manage the contracts themselves by supplying a workforce.

This sort of relationship extends over into almost every aspect of government "business." And when the government cuts back, the contractors are the first to go because they represent low hanging fruit from an economic point of view....temporary infrastructure.

The problem is that in many, if not most cases, it is a false savings to get rid of them first....or at all.

I for one am all for government as a provider of jobs...but only when they are provided as a customer for private enterprise....realizing that this is a progression of sorts. When the government creates a market need, it necessarily must create or provide a cadre of gummint folks to administer that need for the gummint....and to a certain extent...that is a duplication of what each contracting company must do. There are accountants, contract administrators, personnel weenies, and so on in both camps. And there are very solid reasons that must be so.

Where the train jumps the tracks is when the government becomes the ONLY provider of jobs...or even the majority of them.

Clearly, we need both sources...and both sources must work smoothly together.

One need only look to the current political landscape of PA to see what is evolving in the balancing of sensible gummint and corporate interests. The president of the state senate and two speakers of the state house (one dem and one rep....which is delightfully partisan)are serving terms in the PA state prison system...the two speakers sharing the same cell....(there IS a God). We could easily stand to see some Congress folks in Federal lockup....which would likely create some local jobs in Leavenworth,KS...both to construct a new wing at the Federal Prison there...and to administer an expanded prison population. Perhaps, it would even be cause for building a new facility in Berlin, NH...a severely depressed locale because of the decline of the paper industry.

The WPA and the CCC were two great examples of the government creating jobs...but primarily...the government provided the structure and funding for both programs...and when the economy recovered...they had to go. I might add that it was a battle royale to make them go away too. is not about free enterprise or government domination in terms of economic systems. It is about entitled class who once in power use it to their unending benefit....and thus....artificially skew the rest of society. Crap has always flowed downhill....folks at the top of the ant hill are never soiled....but the poor schmuck at the bottom can never get above the fluid line.