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Barack Obama Accused Of Making 'depression' Mistakes

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economi...n-mistakes.html

His policies even have the potential to consign the US to a similar fate as Argentina, which suffered a painful and humiliating slide from first to Third World status last century, the paper says.

There are "troubling similarities" between the US President's actions since taking office and those which in the 1930s sent the US and much of the world spiralling into the worst economic collapse in recorded history, says the new pamphlet, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

In particular, the authors, economists Charles Rowley of George Mason University and Nathanael Smith of the Locke Institute, claim that the White House's plans to pour hundreds of billions of dollars of cash into the economy will undermine it in the long run. They say that by employing deficit spending and increased state intervention President Obama will ultimately hamper the long-term growth potential of the US economy and may risk delaying full economic recovery by several years.

The study represents a challenge to the widely held view that Keynesian fiscal policies helped the US recover from the Depression which started in the early 1930s. The authors say: "[Franklin D Roosevelt's] interventionist policies and draconian tax increases delayed full economic recovery by several years by exacerbating a climate of pessimistic expectations that drove down private capital formation and household consumption to unprecedented lows."

Although the authors support the Federal Reserve's moves to slash interest rates to just above zero and embark on quantitative easing, pumping cash directly into the system, they warn that greater intervention could set the US back further. Rowley says: "It is also not impossible that the US will experience the kind of economic collapse from first to Third World status experienced by Argentina under the national-socialist governance of Juan Peron."

The paper, which recommends that the US return to a more laissez-faire economic system rather than intervening further in activity, has been endorsed by Nobel laureate James Buchanan, who said: "We have learned some things from comparable experiences of the 1930s' Great Depression, perhaps enough to reduce the severity of the current contraction. But we have made no progress toward putting limits on political leaders, who act out their natural proclivities without any basic understanding of what makes capitalism work."

But the free market can deliver perpetual growth?

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment...omic-world.html

As Nathanael Smith and I show in our study of US economic contractions, Adam Smith would be much less sanguine were he confronted by today's financial crisis and the US government's response. Indeed, it is not impossible that the US will experience the kind of economic collapse from first- to third-world status experienced by Argentina under the national socialist governance of Juan Peron.

The US economy suffers from a growing culture of indebtedness that has increasingly contaminated the federal government since 2001 and has spilled over dramatically into private household behaviour. The combination of the ill-conceived fiscal-furnace fired by President Bush and the US Congress and the reckless monetary-furnace fired by Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke throughout the period 2001-2007, created unsustainable housing market and stock market bubbles whose collapse brought on the financial crisis and economic contraction of 2008-2009.

The policy responses to the debt bubble demonstrate crude political consideration rather than economic understanding. If excessive government indebtedness is a major source of the problem, why increase the government debt? Why encourage households to go yet further into debt?

The prognosis is catastrophic if projected government policies are not cut back. According to the White House's own estimates, the federal budget deficit in 2009 will be $1.6 trillion, approximately 11.2pc of the overall economy, the highest on record since the end of the Second World War. In 2019, the national debt will represent 76.5pc of the US national economy, the highest proportion since just after the Second World War. In such circumstances, the international reserve status of the US dollar will not survive. As it fades, so interest rates on government securities will rise and the real burden of servicing the debt will increase. In such circumstances, the US economy will teeter on the edge of a black hole.

Prosperity and full employment in the US will only be restored by a return to laissez-faire capitalism. Our study outlines a radical, but politically feasible, approach. Monetary policy should be expansionary. But, on the micro-economic side, tariffs and other trade barriers should be repealed unilaterally; a "Right-to-Work" Act should reduce the minimum wage and curtail the powers of unions; and business regulation should be reduced. Individual banks and their counterparties should not be bailed out, although the system should be protected by ensuring that failing banks are wound up in an orderly fashion – this is the only way to restore market discipline.

Just how would you wind up all the banks in an orderly fashion?

Has US holdhold debt really only got worse since 2001? I thought it had steadily grown since the mid 80's?

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