economic theory is split between two schools of thought when it comes
to dealing with hard times: the Neoclassical crowd, which believes that
any government spending and regulation hampers growth by removing
resources from the private sector, and the Keynesian contingent, that
argues that only an infusion of capital from the public coffers can stem
the tide of a serious decline. Unfortunately, for those millions of
unemployed who are still suffering the effects of the greatest financial
downturn since the crash of 29, the political class of 2012 will most
likely do little more than to continue to debate which approach might
best create jobs—with the true intent of securing or keeping for
themselves that one available constitutionally mandated job opening in
the Oval Office.
As for myself, I tend to lean toward those who support the philosophy
and principles of John Maynard Keynes. One need not look any further
than to study the history of the Transcontinental Railroad, or the
Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways
to understand the fantastic economic growth and employment that has
occurred as the result of government spending. More recently, the rescue
and resurgence of General Motors will most likely be remembered as
another feather in the Federal cap. And what red-blooded capitalist
would ever turn down the chance to garner a fat government contract.
But I do empathize with those conservatives that are correctly concerned
about some of America’s spending habits. On the other side of the coin
though, we can not lose sight of the fact that there has always been a
fairly successful, although sometimes less than ethical, partnership
between the public sector and the free market. And that government
provided entitlements have for the most part kept in check those forces
of unrest and chaos that have been detrimental to capitalism on so many
other parts of the globe.
There are those political voices that liken these entitlements to
nothing more than an unearned free round drinks. But from where this
publican is sitting, it has been my experience that liberals and
conservatives alike believe that their loyalty, patronage and hard work
(at keeping a barstool warm) is part of some greater social contract
that entitles them to a free drink from time to time. Sometimes that
libation comes about as part of the liberality of the proprietor, and on
other occasions it is the result of some private benefactor at the bar.
No matter the source of that welcomed bracer, it is good to keep in
mind that buying the next round is good for morale, good for the
soul—and always good for business!