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March 18, 2013

The Courage to Steal

In one of his commentaries, the Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman gushed that the French got it right by electing a President who proposed a 75% income tax on the “rich.” Maryland tried that, in a fashion, and they all moved to Florida. One rich Frenchman actually moved to Russia. Even factoring in the cuisine change, living under Putin might be better than working until September 30th for a French socialist.

The laws of economics are rooted in Nature, like gravity, and disorder in the natural laws of economics causes recessions. Nature abhors disorder, and it exacts a terrible price when it hits the reset button. Mr. Krugman is correct about what ills the worlds’ economies- excessive debts. These debts were mostly accrued by politicians buying votes with money their central bankers printed for them. Keynesianism, the notion that government spending gooses economies, is perfect for politicians. These debts can only be settled by spending less, taxing more, or currency devaluation. (Printing money is how men in suits default on their debts.)

Krugman favors the latter, and he cites Iceland as a great success story in devaluation. Icelanders had the “courage” to “default on their debts,” he writes. Sell that to Bjorn the Plumber who saw his savings wiped out, and the creditors who were cheated. Germany, he says, succeeded because its neighbors could buy German products with inflated currency, loaned by Germany! Stay tuned.

Herein lies the moral bankruptcy of Keynesianism. At its core, it is theft, particularly generational theft. Money-printing and default steals from the responsible and rewards the profligate. What is more courageous, living within your means or stealing from your children?

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