The Corner

Re: Unemployment Data

Andrew,

As a reader, I know you as a level-headed analyst, and realize that you work in international equities, but I just don’t think there’s much evidence for your proposition that converting the current abnormal recession into a “normal” one “will take time and, like it or not, a degree of government intervention that exceeds anything with which we free marketeers would usually be comfortable.”

I think there’s more evidence for the proposition that Paulson, Bush, and other Washington policymakers have converted a closer-to-normal economic downturn into a real meltdown by fumbling around for months, sending contradictory and confusing signals. There’s got to be a tremendous drag on investor confidence generated by the obvious fact that these folks have no earthly idea what they are doing. Add to that the uncertainty generated by an incoming administration — Obama’s picks may not be scary, but neither are they particularly revealing — and you have, yes indeed, an economic panic generated to a large degree by political panic.

As for recessions and government causation, Cato & co. would argue that the existence of central banking and government-fiat currency is the core of the boom-and-bust cycle, or at least transforms what would be sectoral cycles of limited wavelength into economy-wide booms and busts. That’s not necessarily an argument for an alternative monetary system — you could conclude that enhanced cycles are a reasonable price to pay for fiat central banking — but it does have the benefit of lots of empirical support. It’s not “just” ideology.

John Hood is a syndicated columnist and the president of the John William Pope Foundation, a North Carolina–based grantmaker.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More
U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More
Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More