Arnold Kling  

I Wasn't Invited

150 Years Ago... Bizarre Salon Attack on Libert...

Matt Welch writes,

There you have it. The 47 smartest economists around the president of the United States agree that the best way to solve the "untenable fiscal situation" is to boost education spending, weatherize homes, throw more bad money after bad in the housing market, more bad money after bad in the Small Business Administration, and maybe (though only over the president's dead body) freeze all taxes for two years. That oughtta tenabilize it.

Welch is mostly calling out Martin Feldstein, who seems to be fixated with rewriting mortgage contracts.

I have been saying for more than two years now that the taxpayers would be better off if we just subsidized moving vans to get people out of the houses they cannot afford. I would rather create jobs for truck drivers and furniture-haulers than for mortgage servicing clerks.

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Rebecca Burlingame writes:

And with government taking care of the middle class by shafting the lower classes, the lower classes may eventually have no choice but to build shelters that are in no way connected to the high prices of today's homes. Let's hope that can be done in such a way that communities do not feel compelled to keep such dwellings away from their city limits.

ThomasL writes:

Perspective from Marcus Cicero (De Officiis, ca. 44 BC):

Then too, what does the cancelling of debts mean, but that you may buy an estate with my money, and keep it, while I go without the money?

Therefore the care should be to check such excessive indebtedness as will be of injury to the state (which may be prevented in many ways), and not, if there are debts, to deprive the rich of their money, and to let the debtors gain what is not theirs.

For nothing holds the state more firmly together than good faith, which cannot possibly exist unless the payment of debts is obligatory. Never was there a more earnest endeavor against the payment of debts than in my consulship. The attempt was made by arms and military operations, and by men of every kind and order, which I resisted with such energy that so dire a calamity was averted from the state. Never was there a larger amount of debt, nor was it ever discharged more fully or more easily; for when the hope of successful fraud was removed, the necessity of paying was the consequence.

Carl The EconGuy writes:

"... the 47 smartest economists around the President ..."

Maybe their average IQ is only 75 -- yes, I know, Larry Summers' is over 200, but the others could be really, really stupid.

Never trust the consensus of politically appointed professionals. They're not professional, they're toadies.

Erica Long writes:

I definitely agree with this post, because i feel like the economy got in such bad shape due to improper spending. I feel the government needs to tax higher depending on the class and how much an indiviual makes. Although they quote on quote do that now, it just seems like the poor is not being helped but there are only how can you get richer schemes. Also instead of some much money being thowed into unnessacary things like the war we are fighting for nothing and creating newer and more expensive/ lavish technologies. We could use this money to build back up communities and businesses so new jobs are created. And also more money could be used for educational purposes and programs, to better the futures of children coming up. Another thing the government does is uses so much money for programs like welfare and food stamps. what I think should be done is a peridoic assessment of these families/people who are apart of this program, because it to is also taking away from tax payer money and many of these people refuse to get a job, because the government will provide them with free funds.

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