Lesson Of '09: Stimulus Policies Maintain The Status Quo And Forestall The Inevitable

For the period leading up to the panic last year, I had been warning of a rather severe recession. My view at the time was that what was needed was a realignment of America’s industrial organisation away from finance and housing where serious overinvestment meant many firms would fail and asset prices would fall.This turned out to be an accurate view.

However, when Lehman Brothers collapsed in a heap, it was clear to me that we faced a stark choice.  One choice was a deflationary spiral and the associated economic dead weight loss of a non-equilibrating global economy in Depression.  The other choice was a soft depression cushioned by fiscal (and monetary stimulus). About a year ago I wrote an ode to Keynesian economics called Confessions of an Austrian economist in which I said that I choose fiscal stimulus to cushion the downturn and prevent a depressionary spiral.

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