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The Ideas We Need

Paul Krugman observes:

Many people have noticed that Obama’s address seemed to include a shout-out to John Maynard Keynes. But I think there’s a revealing difference. […] Keynes, in effect, declared the crisis a failure of ideas; Obama makes it a failure of will.

The ellipsised part of Krugman’s post is blockquotes from Keynes and Obama that illustrate the contrast. But I think it’s the contrast that changes this from being an echo to being a shout-out. Obama is saying, in effect, that there is no crisis of ideas — that we have Keynesian ideas to guide our response and all that’s needed is to apply them. And to apply them well, rather than allow the concept of a stimulus to get turned into a porkeriffic disaster. Certainly it’s an appealing idea, though I’m not 100 percent certain it’s correct.

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