Friday, August 12, 2011

Roots of the global debt crisis - Kay vs Gunter

The National Post’s resident leftist amateur social psychologist and editorial page editor, Jonathan Kay, has recently been treating us to his pet theories (eg. here and here) on how the US has come to the brink of insolvency and who is most to blame. The Tea Party figures large as a culprit [we mighta’ known]:
... the Tea Party ... is the product of an America that never really got over the fear and anxiety produced by 9/11, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and the real estate crash.
... all societies instinctively revert to romantic, backward-looking notions. ... This is why at Tea Party events, there is such a strong correlation between religious Christianity and fiscal conservatism...
... keeping taxes low isn't just smart policy: It's become the central dogma in what can only be described as a quasi-spiritual policy cult.
The noisiest tribe these days is the Tea Party, which embraces the cult-like mantra that cutting taxes can solve all of America's problems. The quasi-theological mentality was captured nicely by Tim Pawlenty ...[“noisiest tribe”? When ninety-plus percent of the media outlets, led by the New York Times, are bent on non-stop demonizing of the Tea Party?]
Kay’s presumed claim to balance is covered by a mild critique of the far left and conflicted views on Keynes and Hayek:
... The less noisy, but equally magically inclined, tribe is the Democratic left ...
... Keynes or Hayek? I'd prefer not to put all my money on one or the other. The U.S. fiscal meltdown shows what happens when economic advocacy gets turned into sloganeering. [Actually, politics always results in “sloganeering”. This is no different.]
All in all, Kay’s effort amounts to useless, left-leaning pedantry - a complete waste of time.
Better to read Lorne Gunter’s much more clear-headed take:
What do Obamacare, the London riots and a possible French debt crisis have in common? They are all proof that Western governments have grown beyond all reasonable, sensible limits.
...So to with the French debt crisis (and the Greek, Irish, Icelandic, Spanish and Italian debt crises - even the American one). In each case, the culprit is a state grown so large it has over-promised benefits, oversold citizens on what they have a "right" to but can no longer expect.
Unless and until we get over our belief that government can and should try to solve every social ill, and tax away productive money to pay for its experiments, the debt crises and riots and failed social programs will continue to pile up.
In short - Lorne Gunter’s views are very close to the Tea Party’s.

No comments: