Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th

A conservative magazine (Human Events) enlisted some folks to name the

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries
Not surprisingly, The Communist Manifesto topped the list by a wide margin. The amusing part, and I wouldn’t be posting this if there wasn’t one, is #10 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by Keynes. Here’s part of the Human Events summary:

The book is a recipe for ever-expanding government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt.

Regardless of what one may think of FDR, the fact is that he had some pretty difficult challenges as President (the Great Depression and World War II). And yep, he did run up the debt. What’s funny though is that this paragraph wants to saddle the Democrat FDR with our current $8 trillion debt, which is more largely attributable to Republicans Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

7 thoughts on “Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th”

  1. One correction though… funding bills are required to begin in the House.

    While Bush is to blame for quite a bit of the drunken spending and/or not vetoing it, Congress must be held accountable also.

    What’s even worse is the fact that none of these numbers are accurate as they are based on the CBO and/or the OMB which use a cash method of account (cash out – cash in = balance) when this hides future liabilities which don’t have a price ceiling… such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.

  2. You’re correct about funding bills beginning in the house. One other thing worth pointing out is that Clinton had the benefit of a fantastic economic climate, so his performance on the debt is not completely attributable to him either.

    That said, even though all bills begin in Congress, the President certainly holds considerable influence on the shape of policy. The rise of the debt in the 80s was referred to as “Reaganomics”. The President has even more control over policy when the same party controls both Congress and the Presidency.

    You’ve got a scary point about the future liabilities. It’s the same bit that corporate America is dealing with.

  3. “The President has even more control over policy when the same party controls both Congress and the Presidency.”

    Yep, definitely. I wasn’t trying to deflect blame at all, just trying to point out all the guilty parties.

    “That said, even though all bills begin in Congress, the President certainly holds considerable influence on the shape of policy. The rise of the debt in the 80s was referred to as “Reaganomicsâ€?. ”

    Yes, but there is significant evidence that the concept of “decreasing rates increases revenues” actually works… JFK demonstrated it first. Reagan did again. And Bush just did it a third time. I believe it was about 18 months ago (not sure on that) where revenues passed the levels prior to the tax cuts.

    “You’ve got a scary point about the future liabilities. It’s the same bit that corporate America is dealing with.”

    Yep, and when you consider things in that light, the “surpluses” of the late 90’s don’t have much meaning.

  4. “Yes, but there is significant evidence that the concept of “decreasing rates increases revenues” actually works… JFK demonstrated it first. Reagan did again. And Bush just did it a third time. I believe it was about 18 months ago (not sure on that) where revenues passed the levels prior to the tax cuts.”

    Interesting. So, that means that whatever tax cuts Reagan, Bush I and Bush II enacted were more than offset by additional spending.

  5. Just take a look where the money is going: The military, the military and the military. What the US spends on its military is not normal for a nation.

  6. Nope… try again: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~jephrean/classweb/global%20spending.html

    Look at the graph labeled: “Military Spending as % of GDP”

    And the difference between military spending and something like Social Security is that military spending is a line item that can grow or be cut… entitlements are terribly difficult to cut.

    When was the last time *less* dollars were spent on Social Security than the year before? (Reduction in the rate of growth is not a cut.)

  7. You’re right that the US is not entirely out of line when it comes to military vs. GDP. And also that entitlements are harder to control.

    But, military spending as a percentage of the budget is pretty high (one site put the figure at 30% in 2004).

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