Can We Blame Keynes for Keynesianism? [new The Good Life column]

The opening of my latest column at EveryJoe:

“In our era of Keynesian economics on steroids, we should ask: How close is current Keynesian practice to original Keynesian theory?

John Maynard Keynes‘s main claim to fame is his advocacy of deficit spending as a tool of economic recovery. In a depressed economy, the argument runs, the government should spend money it doesn’t have. That will stimulate demand, which in term will stimulate supply. Once the economy is back on track, tax revenues will increase, which the government can use to offset its deficits. Thus, in the medium-term its books will happily balance.

“Before Keynes some economists had urged the occasional use of deficit spending to counter downturns. Keynes’s originality was placing that particular political policy tool within the context of a more general economic theory.

“But since Keynes’s 1936 General Theory, we’ve experienced decades of deficits and accelerating government debt. So what went wrong?…” [Read more here.]

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Previous column in The Good Life series: Is Free Speech Dead in Universities?

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