Saturday, November 15, 2008

We have met the enemy

And he is Jason Lewis.

When Spot got up Friday morning, there was a certain heaviness in the air, and the bitter scent that often surrounds someone who is about to heave. As he approached the newspaper on the step, the scent grew stronger. It stung Spot's eyes and nostrils and nearly overpowered Spot as he turned to the op-ed section to read this: Stimulus failed. (Told you so.) So why seek a second helping?

What does J-Loo really know? He knows that to every question, the answer is "government is bad." That's really about it; it's his analysis and solution for every vexing question that arises. Lost love? It's the government's fault. Your eczema acting up? Be sure to use a government cleanser.

This from a guy who moved back to Minnesota from the tax nirvana North Carolina because he couldn't, apparently, maintain his pot to piss in there.

J-Loo's central point, as it is in everything he thinks, writes, reads, says, or even excretes is this:

Government is a zero-sum game; it can't create wealth or increase demand without first reducing it. Deficit-financed rebate or spending schemes merely shuffle around economic resources without growing them. Only increases in labor and its productivity result in a rising tide of economic growth that lifts all boats, not just those who find themselves at the receiving end of a government program.

Spot isn't even going to argue with J-Loo about the utility of economic stimulus or the right approach to it now. It is something over which reasonable dogs can differ.

What Spot does want to point out, however, is that J-Loo is probably the dumbest damn economist who ever lived. As just an initial observation, Charlie say this:

Doctrinaire free marketeers like radio talker Jason Lewis persist in the canard that too much government meddling brought on our economic mess and insist the best thing the government can do anytime is leave the market alone. They would just pull the refs from the game and let the players cheat each other fair and square.

Spotty, he's a talk show host, not an economist.

Well, grasshopper, that does explain a lot!

I guess that knowing where the cough button is on your microphone doesn't equip you to understand John Maynard Keynes!

Indeed, grasshopper, although it may equip a person to be a test subject in a Stanley Milgrim experiment.

Society acting cooperatively - through in part the government - is critical to the growth of the economy and the support of the efforts of individuals in it. The economy is a zero-sum game only if you believe you are a member of a group of fur-bearing animals stealing food from each other. Spot thought that J-Loo had more self-esteem than that!

Spot has cited this article before, but even Warren Buffet says it takes a village to raise a millionaire. And we're obliged to pay for the help we receive; the wealthier you are, the more you owe for that help. It's not a difficult concept, J-Loo.

Spot, that sounds almost Biblical: To whom much is given, much is expected.

Someday, Spot will - with a sense of dread, no doubt - do much more of an analysis of the blowhard J-Loo. But, it's Saturday, and there are things to do.

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