Dana Milbank has a great article on Keynes in the Washington Post this morning. Here's a selection:
"I called Harvard's Greg Mankiw, a former chairman of George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, to ask about the GOP assault on Keynes. "I don't think it's useful to frame it as Keynesian and anti-Keynesian," Mankiw said of the attack on the long-dead Briton. Bush, he said, used "Keynesian logic" in designing his tax cuts. "The idea that demand is an important driver of the economic cycle" -- that's Keynesian -- "is uncontroversial," he said.
Here's what Mankiw wrote about Keynes in November 2008 in the New York Times: "If you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there is little doubt that the economist would be John Maynard Keynes. Although Keynes died more than a half-century ago, his diagnosis of recessions and depressions remains the foundation of modern macroeconomics."
With so much of Keynesian theory universally embraced, Republican denunciation of him has a flat-earth feel to it. Will they next demand the abolition of NASA because it's "Galileo on steroids?" Shut down the National Institutes of Health for being a "Hippocratic mistake?" Strip funding for those "Einsteinian experiments" at Los Alamos? Demand a halt to public schools teaching from the "failed Darwinian playbook?" (Oh, wait. They did that last part already.)
Keynes's place in economics is similarly unassailable, and the assault on him lends credibility to the charge that the Republicans lack ideas of their own and are merely generating opposition for its own sake. There's a cogent argument to be made that Obama's stimulus was ill-designed and ineffective, but dismissing the most important figure in economic thought in the last century says less about Obama than about his accusers."
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