Monday, February 09, 2009

A Yes and a No

Tibor R. Machan

President Obama made two important points during his Monday evening news conference, the first of his presidency. One was when he observed that old habits are very hard to shed. How true that is and how his own policies vis-a-vis the economic calamity demonstrates it. After all, one of the oldest and worst habits human beings find nearly impossible to be rid of is the governmental habit, that of turning to government as if it could perform miracles, superhuman deeds. This idolatry about government and its officials as a terrible habit and needs to be tossed ASAP.

The other important point, which was, however, completely wrong, is that the policy of stimulating the American economy by means of enormous spending programs is not opposed by economists around the country. This is false and it is difficult to imagine that President Obama doesn't know it to be false. And if he does, then we have here the same old, same old Washington practice of lying to the American people. The enormity of the falsehood is best noted by listing all the economists around the country who consider the stimulus the wrong approach to dealing with the crisis. The Cato Institute of Washington, DC, has published a list of those economists, several of them Nobel Laureates, and I will simply reproduce their names and affiliations here:

BURTON ABRAMS, Univ. of Delaware
DOUGLAS ADIE, Ohio University
LEE ADKINS, Oklahoma State University
RYAN AMACHER, Univ. of Texas at Arlington
J.J.ARIAS, Georgia College & State University
HOWARD BAETJER, JR., Towson University
CHARLES BAIRD, California State University, East Bay
STACIE BECK, Univ. of Delaware
DON BELLANTE, Univ. of South Florida
JAMES BENNETT, George Mason University
BRUCE BENSON, Florida State University
SANJAI BHAGAT, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
MARK BILS, Univ. of Rochester
ALBERTO BISIN, New York University
WALTER BLOCK, Loyola University New Orleans
CECIL BOHANON, Ball State University
MICHELE BOLDRIN, Washington University in St. Louis
DONALD BOOTH, Chapman University
MICHAEL BORDO, Rutgers University
SAMUEL BOSTAPH, Univ. of Dallas
DONALD BOUDREAUX, George Mason University
SCOTT BRADFORD, Brigham Young University
GENEVIEVE BRIAND, Eastern Washington University
IVAN BRICK, Rutgers University
GEORGE BROWER, Moravian College
PHILLIP BRYSON, Brigham Young University
JAMES BUCHANAN, Nobel laureate
RICHARD BURDEKIN, Claremont McKenna College
RICHARD BURKHAUSER, Cornell University
EDWIN T. BURTON, Univ. of Virginia
JIM BUTKIEWICZ, Univ. of Delaware
HENRY BUTLER, Northwestern University
WILLIAM BUTOS, Trinity College
PETER CALCAGNO, College of Charleston
BRYAN CAPLAN, George Mason University
ART CARDEN, Rhodes College
JAMES CARDON, Brigham Young University
DUSTIN CHAMBERS, Salisbury University
V.V. CHARI, Univ. of Minnesota
BARRY CHISWICK, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
LAWRENCE CIMA, John Carroll University
J.R. CLARK, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga
GIAN LUCA CLEMENTI, New York University
R.MORRIS COATS, Nicholls State University
JOHN COCHRAN, Metropolitan State College at Denver
JOHN COCHRANE, Univ. of Chicago
JOHN COGAN, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
LLOYD COHEN, George Mason University
JOHN COLEMAN, Duke University
BOYD COLLIER, Tarleton State University
ROBERT COLLINGE, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
PETER COLWELL, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
LEE COPPOCK, Univ. of Virginia
MARIO CRUCINI, Vanderbilt University
CHRISTOPHER CULP, Univ. of Chicago
KIRBY CUNDIFF, Northeastern State University
ANTONY DAVIES, Duquesne University
JOHN DAWSON, Appalachian State University
A. EDWARD DAY, Univ. of Texas at Dallas
CLARENCE DEITSCH, Ball State University
ALLAN DESERPA, Arizona State University
WILLIAM DEWALD, Ohio State University
ARTHUR DIAMOND, JR., Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha
JOHN DOBRA, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
JAMES DORN, Towson University
CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS, Univ. of Michigan, Flint
FLOYD DUNCAN, Virginia Military Institute
FRANCIS EGAN, Trinity College
JOHN EGGER, Towson University
KENNETH ELZINGA, Univ. of Virginia
PAUL EVANS, Ohio State University
FRANK FALERO, California State University, Bakersfield
EUGENE FAMA, Univ. of Chicago
W. KEN FARR, Georgia College & State University
DANIEL FEENBERG, National Bureau
of Economic Research
HARTMUT FISCHER, Univ. of San Francisco
ERIC FISHER, California State Polytechnic University
FRED FOLDVARY, Santa Clara University
MURRAY FRANK, Univ. of Minnesota
PETER FRANK, Wingate University
TIMOTHY FUERST, Bowling Green State University
B. DELWORTH GARDNER, Brigham Young University
JOHN GAREN, Univ. of Kentucky
RICK GEDDES, Cornell University
AARON GELLMAN, Northwestern University
WILLIAM GERDES, Clarke College
JOSEPH GIACALONE, St. John’s University
MICHAEL GIBBS, Univ. of Chicago
OTIS GILLEY, Louisiana Tech University
STEPHAN GOHMANN, Univ. of Louisville
RODOLFO GONZALEZ, San Jose State University
RICHARD GORDON, Penn State University
PETER GORDON, Univ. of Southern California
ERNIE GOSS, Creighton University
PAUL GREGORY, Univ. of Houston
EARL GRINOLS, Baylor University
DANIEL GROPPER, Auburn University
R.W. HAFER, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
ARTHUR HALL, Univ. of Kansas
STEVE HANKE, Johns Hopkins University
STEPHEN HAPPEL, Arizona State University
RICHARD HART, Miami University
THOMAS HAZLETT, George Mason University
FRANK HEFNER, College of Charleston
SCOTT HEIN, Texas Tech University
RONALD HEINER, George Mason University
DAVID HENDERSON, Hoover Institution,
Stanford University
ROBERT HERREN, North Dakota State University
GAILEN HITE, Columbia University
STEVEN HORWITZ, St. Lawrence University
DANIEL HOUSER, George Mason University
JOHN HOWE, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia
JEFFREY HUMMEL, San Jose State University
BRUCE HUTCHINSON, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga
BRIAN JACOBSEN,Wisconsin Lutheran College
SHERRY JARRELL,Wake Forest University
JASON JOHNSTON, Univ. of Pennsylvania
BOYAN JOVANOVIC, New York University
JONATHAN KARPOFF, Univ. of Washington
BARRY KEATING, Univ. of Notre Dame
NAVEEN KHANNA, Michigan State University
NICHOLAS KIEFER, Cornell University
DANIEL KLEIN, George Mason University
PAUL KOCH, Univ. of Kansas
MAREK KOLAR, Delta College
ROGER KOPPL, Fairleigh Dickinson University
State College of Denver
GEORGE LANGELETT, South Dakota State University
JAMES LARRIVIERE, Spring Hill College
ROBERT LAWSON, Auburn University
JOHN LEVENDIS, Loyola University New Orleans
DAVID LEVINE, Washington University in St. Louis
PETER LEWIN, Univ. of Texas at Dallas
W. CRIS LEWIS, Utah State University
DEAN LILLARD, Cornell University
ZHENG LIU, Emory University
ALAN LOCKARD, Binghampton University
EDWARD LOPEZ, San Jose State University
JOHN R. LOTT, Jr., Univ. of Maryland
JOHN LUNN, Hope College
University in St. Louis
HENRY MANNE, George Mason University
Polytechnic State University
DERYL MARTIN, Tennessee Tech University
DALE MATCHECK, Northwood University
JOHN MATSUSAKA, Univ. of Southern California
THOMAS MAYOR, Univ. of Houston
DEIRDRE MCCLOSKEY, University of Illinois at Chicago
JOHN MCDERMOTT, Univ. of South Carolina
JOSEPH MCGARRITY, Univ. of Central Arkansas
ROGER MEINERS, Univ. of Texas at Arlington
ALLAN MELTZER, Carnegie Mellon University
JOHN MERRIFIELD, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
JAMES MILLER III, George Mason University
JEFFREY MIRON, Harvard University
THOMAS MOELLER, Texas Christian University
JOHN MOORHOUSE,Wake Forest University
ANDREA MORO, Vanderbilt University
ANDREW MORRISS, Univ. of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign
MICHAEL MUNGER, Duke University
KEVIN MURPHY, Univ. of Southern California
DAVID MUSTARD, Univ. of Georgia
RICHARD MUTH, Emory University
CHARLES NELSON, Univ. of Washington
SETH NORTON, Wheaton College
LYDIA ORTEGA, San Jose State University
EVAN OSBORNE, Wright State University
RANDALL PARKER, East Carolina University
ALLEN PARKMAN, Univ. of New Mexico
DONALD PARSONS, George Washington University
SAM PELTZMAN, Univ. of Chicago
TIMOTHY PERRI, Appalachian State University
MARK PERRY, Univ. of Michigan, Flint
CHRISTOPHER PHELAN, Univ. of Minnesota
GORDON PHILLIPS, Univ. of Maryland
MICHAEL PIPPENGER, Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks
TOMASZ PISKORSKI, Columbia University
BRENNAN PLATT, Brigham Young University
JOSEPH POMYKALA, Towson University
WILLIAM POOLE, Univ. of Delaware
BARRY POULSON, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
BENJAMIN POWELL, Suffolk University
EDWARD PRESCOTT, Nobel laureate
GARY QUINLIVAN, Saint Vincent College
REZA RAMAZANI, Saint Michael’s College
ADRIANO RAMPINI, Duke University
ERIC RASMUSEN, Indiana University
MARIO RIZZO, New York University
NANCY ROBERTS, Arizona State University
ROBERT ROSSANA, Wayne State University
JAMES ROUMASSET, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa
JOHN ROWE, Univ. of South Florida
CHARLES ROWLEY, George Mason University
ROY RUFFIN, Univ. of Houston
KEVIN SALYER, Univ. of California, Davis
THOMAS SAVING, Texas A&M University
PAVEL SAVOR, Univ. of Pennsylvania
RONALD SCHMIDT, Univ. of Rochester
CARLOS SEIGLIE, Rutgers University
ALAN SHAPIRO, Univ. of Southern California
WILLIAM SHUGHART II, Univ. of Mississippi
JAMES SMITH, Western Carolina University
VERNON SMITH, Nobel laureate, Chapman University
DEAN STANSEL, Florida Gulf Coast University
HOUSTON STOKES, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
BRIAN STROW, Western Kentucky University
SHIRLEY SVORNY, California State
University, Northridge
JOHN TATOM, Indiana State University
WADE THOMAS, State University
of New York at Oneonta
HENRY THOMPSON, Auburn University
ALEX TOKAREV, The King’s College
EDWARD TOWER, Duke University
LEO TROY, Rutgers University
WILLIAM TRUMBULL, West Virginia University
DAVID TUERCK, Suffolk University
CHARLOTTE TWIGHT, Boise State University
KAMAL UPADHYAYA, Univ. of New Haven
CHARLES UPTON, Kent State University
T. NORMANVAN COTT, Ball State University
RICHARDVEDDER, Ohio University
RICHARDWAGNER, George Mason University
DOUGLAS M.WALKER, College of Charleston
DOUGLAS O.WALKER, Regent University
MARCWEIDENMIER, Claremont McKenna College
State University
ROBERTWHAPLES, Wake Forest University
LAWRENCEWHITE, Univ. of Missouri at St. Louis
WALTERWILLIAMS, George Mason University
DOUGWILLS, Univ. of Washington Tacoma
DENNISWILSON, Western Kentucky University
GARYWOLFRAM, Hillsdale College
HUIZHONG ZHOU, Western Michigan University

I expected to disagree with President Obama on a number of substantive matters but I really didn't expect--didn't think to expect--outright deception from him. That, to me, is very sad and confirms the suspicion that despite his claim that he is going to bring change to the nation's capital, no significance change is going to be forthcoming, certainly not about whether politicians will now be honest.

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