Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Would Sennholz Say Now?

"If we cannot return to fiscal integrity because the public prefers profusion and prodigality over balanced budgets, we cannot escape paying the price, which is ever lower incomes and standards of living for all."

Hans Sennholz (1922-2007)

The hard-to-understand, but perfect, word prodigality is derived from the word prodigal, as in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and refers to lavishness.

Well, lavishness has certainly been the order of the day these past few years!

Despite tweaking statistics with measurements heretofore unknown to try to make things look better, we are in an era of unprecedented spending and deficits, debt and unemployment.  More Americans have been and are unemployed for longer than 12 months than in any time in US history.  And 300,000 or more file for new unemployment claims each week, seemingly unknown to the "public" Sennholz refers to above.  More Americans live below the poverty line, despite, again, tweaking the numbers to try to improve the statistics, than ever before in history.  And the beat goes on. 

This will, as Sennholz states above, have a price and that price will be lower incomes and standards of living for all.

Best known for his work in money and banking, Dr. Sennholz has been an under-appreciated member of the Austrian School of Economics.  His ability to propagate economic thinking among the economic under-educated is legendary.  His ability to teach with his economic rhetoric rivals any in economic thought and history.

In 2005 he wrote an analysis called "The Economics of Jimmy Carter," in which he dubs Carter "the worst president ever."  The paper's position is simple.  He says that Carter was "unaware of the inexorable economic principles that direct and determine economic life."  And further, and this gets to the teaching and economic rhetoric that makes him so understandable, "Consumers determine not only the prices of consumer goods, but also those of the factors of production, that is, land, labor, and capital.  They determine and pay the wages of every worker.  Carter never tires of expounding his displeasure and irritability about the income and wealth of many capitalists and about government policies that seem to favor the rich."

Um, sorry to state the obvious, but who does that sound like now?

Carter policies crushed consumption and then went before Americans to accuse us of a "malaise."  And then he said we needed to get over it and get to work! 

What he failed to understand, and what the current regime fails to understand, is that the consumer drives the economy.  And, further, the small business drives the economy as well.  If policy does things to impede the development or continuance of the small business, surely a malaise will follow, incomes will lower and standards of living will not improve.

But "they" already know that!  And yet "they" persist in trying to shove "their" doctrine down our throats.  And we see it unfolding exactly as Orwell said in Animal Farm, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." 

Notice how our "leaders" always say - do as we say but not as we do.  They walk, after all, on two legs...  The rest of us?  Well...

Given our current international, legislative and economic situations and the continuing devolution of our society and way of life, I wonder, gee, I wonder, how Sennholz would define the worst president now?

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