David R. Henderson  

Ridiculous Sentence on Economic Policy

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Co-blogger Bryan asked for candidates for ridiculous sentences on economic policy. I have one candidate and another possible.

The first is the old socialist saw:

Production for use and not for profit.

The second, which I can't find quickly, is the late Senator Edward Kennedy's statement in the 1960s, when he was one of the leading defenders of the draft, that an all-volunteer force would be unfair to black people because a disproportionately high percentage of them would join.

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CATEGORIES: Economic History

COMMENTS (8 to date)
RL writes:

You gotta love that Ted Kennedy, always going to visit the troops during time of the draft and looking out at the sea of white faces...

Karl Smith writes:

I don't know the context but one could easily construe the draft comment as being not that crazy.

If one felt that a higher percentage black force would not be used as judiciously as a more representative army, then there is something of an externality. As each additional black solider joins fighting becomes more dangerous for the existing black soldiers.

guy in a veal calf office writes:

Paul Samuelson's 1989 edition of Economics: "The Soviet economy is proof that ... a socialist command economy can function and even thrive."

Stiglitz and brothers Orzag: "..on the basis of historical experience, the risk to the government from a potential default on GSE debt is effectively zero."

I still chuckle. I'm sure Stiglitz, Sachs or Krugman will deliver a similar chestnut at the Jobs Summit.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:

There's an embarrassment of riches, frankly. How many politicians have said something along the lines of, 'It's all about jobs, jobs, jobs!'

Though none have done so quite as colorfully as Joe Biden here

Or, someone chastising a business for charging 'whatever the market will bear' (aka; the market price), claiming we need more; 'affordable housing', jobs that pay 'a living wage', or equal pay for jobs of 'comparable worth'?

All of which are from the top of my head.

Nick Rowe writes:

People before profit!

Ed Hanosn writes:


As you search, you will find an unending string of ridiculous economic statements. But none will come close to the disillusion, damage, and death of the worse of all.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

dave writes:

Guy in Veal Cal
I am reviewing an older version of Samuelson's text - 1995 - long story was trying to find the edition from the mid 80's that was forced on me - and find there are simply too many to list here.

But I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who noticed the kool aid being ladled in that text.

Matt writes:

I agree with Karl, that ted kennedy's isn't the most ridiculous. Had the military became completely black, then racist white men would see war as less of a loss to America. So if more blacks would join the military then it could cause the blacks to view the military as even more of a death sentence as the americans citizens might care less about them. Not saying the whole argument is logical, but it at least starts with a possibly correct statement (even if this would make blacks less likely to join, and additionally reasons like "no Vietnamese ever called me a Nigger") It has a train of though i suppose, and is only ridiculous, not the most ridiculous comment.

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