Are We Entering a Depression?

Economist Paul Krugman in an op-ed column in The New York Times online edition indicates that he is fearful that we are now in the early stages of a depression, possibly the third depression in our history.  Krugman also appears to believe that the cause will be government policy mistakes.  Specifically, he sees the need for additional stimulus spending to spur growth.  Is Krugman right?  Are we entering a major depression?  And, if we are, is the remedy for the Federal government to spend a lot more money?  What do you think?  Let’s talk about it now.

Yikes, a major depression.  Actually, I have been thinking the same thing for quite some time.  I think there exists a real chance we are in the beginning stage of another major depression, in many ways like the Great Depression and in some ways quite different.  Obviously, we are not close to a depression yet.  But, I think Krugman might still be right.  However, Krugman’s remedy of spending more is the WRONG answer.

Our economic recovery is currently very anemic.  But, I strongly believe the economy will be hit even harder in 2011 with an assortment of tax hikes and totally new taxes.  MORE taxes simply mean LESS money in the private sector to invest in new businesses, new products and services, and new jobs.  These new taxes and higher taxes will take their toll on unemployment numbers.

The current government policy we seem to be following is to increase taxes, increase spending, increase borrowing, and increase deficits.  There have been some notable exceptions.  But, in general, the government has a tax-and-spend mindset.  This is the precise opposite of a pro-economic growth policy which we desperately need now.

It is widely agreed that the various previous stimulus packages have failed to boost our economy.  Krugman’s policy answer will likely fail as well.  If our own economic history and data are not enough, just look at Japan’s record of attempting to stimulate their economy.  Keynesian economics didn’t work in Japan either.

Yes, we might be entering a depression.  If we do find ourselves in a depression, we can blame government policies.  But, the cause will not be too little stimulus spending.  It will be the lack of a pro-economic growth policy that emphasizes tax cuts for everyone.  Recall the Harding-Coolidge, post World War II, JFK, Ronald Reagan and Bush tax cuts.  In each case, unemployment was low and the economy soared.

Citizen Economics Blog – News, Analysis, Insight, Practical Knowledge by Gerard Francis Lameiro, Ph.D.  For more information, please visit: http://GerardLameiro.com .

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