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. . . by any other name . . .


In 1996, ValuJet flight 592 crashed into the Everglades, killing all 110 people on board.  The media coverage was intensive and harsh.  The name of ValuJet was ruined.  Therefore, it quickly merged with AirTran to jettison the name of ValuJet.

Economists are not above doing the same thing.

Readers will recall that, when politicians talk about economics, they are talking from only three viewpoints.  First, there was the Austrian school of economics, which dictated that a balanced budget was necessary each and every year.  Then, there was the Keynesian school of economics, which argued that government should run a deficit budget during recessions and a surplus budget during good years.  Lastly, there was the Supply-side school of economics, which concluded that, no matter what the problem, a tax cut will fix it.

I have long argued all perspectives are right and appropriate, depending on the economy.

However, the name of the famous Brit, Maynard Keynes, has been trashed badly ever since President Nixon said “we’re all Keynesians now.”  Taking a clue from Valujet, meet the American Keynes:  (drumroll please!)  Alvin Hansen.

Like Keynes, he believed anemic recoveries or stagnation were “sick recoveries which die in the infancy and depression which feed on themselves and leave a hard and seemingly immovable core of unemployment,” which sounds similar to today, even though he said it in 1938.  His solution was also deficit spending, just like Keynes.  But, “Hansen” sounds so much fresher and more American than “Keynes.”  You can expect to hear it as fresh thinking . . . even though he’s been dead for 40 years.

When was the last time you heard of “ValuJet?”  Maybe, Keynes also went down on Flight 592.

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