Which thinker is more relevant right now, Lord Keynes or Naomi Klein?
We’ve hit hard times. The Keynesian advice is to spend a lot of taxpayer money to make up for the lack of private spending, thereby jump-starting the injured market order.
Naomi Klein, on the other hand, is best known for her book “The Shock Doctrine,” in which she charged that free-marketers were conspiring to use social and economic crises as excuses to “take over” and remake the world in their favor.
Let’s look at the evidence, shall we? We’ve hit a crisis. The government has done the Keynesian thing. Unemployment went up, but . . . who has made the biggest gains?
USA Today reports that federal workers are enjoying a boom in both employment and salaries. “Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months” — and that’s not counting overtime and bonuses!
It’s not markets being stimulated, here, but government.
Not only is this Keynesianism on its head, but Naomi-Kleinism, too. Those who have taken advantage of the crisis are the ultimate insiders. As a Washington Examiner editorial puts it, “bad times for the rest of us are good times for the federal establishment.”
We could wish Naomi Klein were right.
But things aren’t getting better because she’s wrong.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.