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Robert Reich is having way too much fun…

… on his blog.

The economist, professor, Common Cause chair and former secretary of labor (under Bill Clinton) makes no pretense of being neutral on great long Keynesian vs. anti-government approach to stimulating economic growth. Nor does he try to maintain an air of scholarly dignity. Here, he created and posted a video of a brief debate on the fundamental Keynesian question between a jaunty professor named Dr. Right and another glum scholar in a badly-tied black bowtie named Dr. Wrong (from the Center for Keeping You in the Dark). Reich himself plays all the parts. I don’t have an embed code, but this link will get you straight to the three-minute video.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/25/2011 - 03:11 pm.

    1. Government jobs are not the solution because in addition to the current cost of salaries and benefits, government jobs also come with a permanent commitment from the taxpayers in the form of pensions long after the employee has left his job.

    2. Infrastructure jobs are a temporary fix lasting only as long as the project lasts. We need permanent, private sector jobs.

    3. The WPA was created at a time when there was no unemployment compensation system so any new WPA program should be paid for out of the UI fund and would only be for current recipients of UI.

    4. “Creating new sources of green energy” is the role of the private sector. Giving money to selected “green” companies is crony capitalism, picking winners and losers and the same complaint that the American people have with the banks and auto makers that were bailed out. That’s not the role of government in a capitalist society.

    The only good thing that has come out of Obama’s destruction of the economy is that Keynesian economics can now be buried as yet another leftist theory that doesn’t work. Now someone needs to tell Robert Reich.

  2. Submitted by kay smith on 10/25/2011 - 03:40 pm.

    He does seem to have fun. A while back I saw a clip of him on Conan O’Brian–the two of them running around and acting silly, punctuated by their height difference, and being very funny.

  3. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/25/2011 - 03:59 pm.

    Dennis @ # 1: Unemployment compensation was instituted nationally in the Social Security Act. As far as Keynesian economics beiung a “leftist theory”, I’ll accept that except it’s a theory has been proven to work, evidenced by the unprecedented period of prosperity of the US and Western Europe from about 1946-1980. It sure wasn’t Hayek or Von Mises that people were following.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/25/2011 - 04:05 pm.

    I, for one, am grateful that Mr. Reich has a sense of humor about trying to reveal how clueless is the “wrongness” that passes for “conservative” “thought” in this day and age (which is neither of those things).

    Still, far too many of us DO seem to love to be “WRONG,” and seem completely unable to admit that we are, in effect, sitting in a dark room with the curtains drawn and the lights off,…

    all to avoid a glimmer of a possibility that we might encounter even the slightest hint of light which might threaten to pierce the perfect darkness that lies at the heart of our demonstrably mistaken and misguided ideas and ideals.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/26/2011 - 11:03 am.

    Obviously, Reich makes no attempt to present the opposition’s case fairly, assuming that can be done.

    Calls for a new WPA and for infrastructure investment should consider that each new project brings with it long term costs in maintenance and, ultimately reconstruction. (Take a look at many of the crumbling WPA structures about town.) That doesn’t mean all new construction should be opposed. It simply means that new construction should not be based on the fact that it provides jobs.

    The WPA, however, was not simply about construction. It was used to support the arts and other sectors of the economy as well. I wonder how that would fare today.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/26/2011 - 01:47 pm.

    I’m not sure todays liability laws allow for WPA style un-skilled construction. And I wonder what happens when a WPA program competes with private contractors for work?

  7. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/26/2011 - 03:17 pm.

    Re comment #1: “Obama’s destruction of the economy”

    Really? Here are just a few of the highlights of the economic/financial/housing crash, which I have not forgotten, even if Mr. Tester has:

    Housing Crisis:
    – Start, 2006/2007
    – Oct 2007, U.S. Sec. of Treasury said bursting housing bubble was greatest risk to economy
    – 08/2008 – Foreclosures kick off crisis in the subprime, Alt-A, collateralized debt obligation (CDO), mortgage, credit, hedge fund, and foreign bank markets
    – 12/30/2008 Largest drop in history of Case-Shiller home price index
    – still headed down

    Financial Crisis:
    – 3/16/2008 Bear Stearns acquired for $2/sh, avoiding bankruptcy
    – 7/11/2008 Indymac placed into receivership
    – 9/7/2008 Federal takeover of Fannie & Freddie
    – 9/14/2008 Merrill Lynch sold to BoA
    – 9/15/2008 Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy
    – 9/17/2008 Fed bails out AIG
    – 9/18/2008 Paulson & Bernanke pitch TARP; Bernanke: “if we don’t do this, we don’t have an economy on Monday.”
    – 9/25/2008 WaMu seized by FDIC
    – 10/1/2008 Financial crisis spreads to Europe
    – 10/6 – 10/10/2008 Worst week in stock market in 75 years.
    – 10/6 – 10/7/2008 Fed lends 900 billion to financial companies; 1.3 trillion to non-financial companies
    – 11/24/2008 U.S. govt agrees to rescue Citi
    – 11/25/2008 Fed pledges 800 billion for financial sector rescues

    Unemployment: in 2008, increased from 4.9% to 7.2%; peaked at 10.2 in 2009; currently about 9.1

    Obama Inauguration: 1/20/2009

    Who destroyed the economy?

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