Saturday, December 27, 2008
That second to last page in the first section of the Wall Street Journal continues to offer up commentary that you just don't see elsewhere in the mainstream media.
Over the last month or so, as it has become increasingly clear that our monetary system may be at the root of many of our current problems, there were at least three calls for a new monetary order, all of which involved gold in some way.
See the following references from back in November:
- Nov. 14 - We need more editorials like this
- Nov. 18 - Another good "sound money" editorial
- Nov. 24 - Another call for a gold standard in the WSJ
Today, Peter Schiff weighs in with some quite sensible arguments regarding the recent mania in economic stimulus programs around the world, figuring that maybe the free market would be better off deciding who wins and loses rather than governments.
There's No Pain-Free Cure for RecessionIt is rather remarkable that the only discussion you really hear these days is how big and how far-reaching the economic stimulus should be with few elected officials (Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, and a couple others) questioning how more easy money is going to solve the problems caused by too much easy money.
Belt-tightening is required by all, including government.
By PETER SCHIFF
As recession fears cause the nation to embrace greater state control of the economy and unimaginable federal deficits, one searches in vain for debate worthy of the moment. Where there should be an historic clash of ideas, there is only blind resignation and an amorphous queasiness that we are simply sweeping the slouching beast under the rug.
With faith in the free markets now taking a back seat to fear and expediency, nearly the entire political spectrum agrees that the federal government must spend whatever amount is necessary to stabilize the housing market, bail out financial firms, liquefy the credit markets, create jobs and make the recession as shallow and brief as possible. The few who maintain free-market views have been largely marginalized.
After discussing Keynesian versus Austrian economics, an increasingly popular topic these days but one that still gets far too little attention, Peter concludes:
By borrowing more than it can ever pay back, the government will guarantee higher inflation for years to come, thereby diminishing the value of all that Americans have saved and acquired. For now the inflationary tide is being held back by the countervailing pressures of bursting asset bubbles in real estate and stocks, forced liquidations in commodities, and troubled retailers slashing prices to unload excess inventory. But when the dust settles, trillions of new dollars will remain, chasing a diminished supply of goods. We will be left with 1970s-style stagflation, only with a much sharper contraction and significantly higher inflation.At this point, the free market solution would likely be a depression rather than a recession, hence the reason that no elected official or right-thinking economist would contemplate anything other than the current course.
The good news is that economics is not all that complicated. The bad news is that our economy is broken and there is nothing the government can do to fix it. However, the free market does have a cure: it's called a recession, and it's not fun, easy or quick. But if we put our faith in the power of government to make the pain go away, we will live with the consequences for generations.