SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 27, 2014

Anderson: The doomed-economy weight-loss plan

(Continued)

That campaign led me to read Howard Jarvis, whose “Mad as Hell” initiated the 1978 property tax revolt in California. Later, Ross Perot explained the difference between the deficit and the national debt to a then-eager audience of Americans. Try getting their attention now!

Then, there was Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman, who argued that the Great Depression had been caused by the Federal Reserve’s policies through the 1920s, and worsened in the 1930s. He thought that laissez-faire government policy is more desirable than government intervention in the economy.

The Austrian economists especially are cited in Dan Smith’s book, so it was like having old friends visit my sickbed; he also brings us up to date on the Federal Reserve. I was very happy, sipping apple juice, turning pages of the Kindle. Cozy as I was with my hot water bottle, I didn’t overreact to Smith’s conclusion: that we are doomed.

I’d figured that out myself in recent years; it was intellectually gratifying to me that I’d arrived at the same conclusion, even though I spend a lot of time in denial, trying to keep everyone’s spirits up, including mine. I don’t understand some of the technical language of the economist, never mind of the engineer that Smith is, but I do get the point: a country can’t borrow its way into prosperity or even ongoing solvency.

I went to find some direct quotes in Smith’s book but found that the Kindle battery was dead and I had to plug it in. What? I don’t have to plug in my other books.

And I then realized where my good, “I’m sick so I might as well be happy” mood went. Chip returned my computer. Once again, I was in contact with the world. Days of mostly unwanted email poured into my little office; I’ll never catch up. Yes, I know the rule: just delete. I spend an awful lot of time deleting. Is this what life is supposed to be about: keeping ahead of the deletions?

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