Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One of King Banaian’s little tin gods

Judge Richard Posner is, to mix a metaphor, way off the reservation:

By the end of the Clinton administration, I was content to celebrate the triumph of conservatism as I understood it, and had no desire for other than incremental changes in the economic and social structure of the United States. I saw no need for the estate tax to be abolished, marginal personal-income tax rates further reduced, the government shrunk, pragmatism in constitutional law jettisoned in favor of "originalism," the rights of gun owners enlarged, our military posture strengthened, the rise of homosexual rights resisted, or the role of religion in the public sphere expanded. All these became causes embraced by the new conservatism that crested with the reelection of Bush in 2004.

* * *

And then came the financial crash last September and the ensuing depression. These unanticipated and shocking events have exposed significant analytical weaknesses in core beliefs of conservative economists concerning the business cycle and the macroeconomy generally. Friedmanite monetarism and the efficient-market theory of finance have taken some sharp hits, and there is renewed respect for the macroeconomic thought of John Maynard Kenyes, a conservatives' bête noire.

Some of you, boys and girls, will recall King Banaian waving Richard Posner in front of Spot like a little silver cross when discussing the aftermath of the 35W bridge collapse.

Spot wonders if Banaian agrees that Milton Friedman is dead or he thinks Judge Posner has come down with a serious case of stupid.

Inquiring minds want to know.

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