Friday, March 11, 2016

NYTimes: Obama's Economic Ideas Great... Just Like Hitler's Were?


By Frances Rice
Liberal pundits were giddy when the hard-core socialist, Barack Obama, was elected president in 2008 and remained silent when Newsweek published an edition of its magazine in 2009 with the below cover.
Fast forward to 2016 to the media-generated firestorm where pundits are trying to turn the public against Donald Trump, a capitalist, by falsely comparing Trump to Adolph Hitler, who was a socialist. 

The absurdity of the “Trump is like Hitler” narrative is addressed in the article “Leftists become incandescent when reminded of the socialist roots of Nazism” that’s posted at:

Flashback to 2009, David Leonhardt brazenly and approvingly compared President Obama to Hitler in an article published in The New York Times. So, what was the liberal media's reaction?  Silence.

Below is a 2009 article by Warner Todd Huston posted by News Busters on the subject and further below is the text of Leonhard’s article.

NYTimes: Obama's Economic Ideas Great... Just Like Hitler's Were?

By Warner Todd Huston| April 3, 2009 

For The New York Times economic scene section for March 31, David Leonhardt came across with one of the most amazing admissions about Obama that I've ever seen in the Times. Namely that Barack Obama is just like Hitler. Now, many of you may be solemnly shaking your head in agreement, but in so doing you would be missing why the Times was comparing Obama to Hitler. You see, Leonhardt didn't mean it as an insult. He was saying that it was a good thing that Barack was being like Hitler at least in an economic sense. 

Here Leonhardt is taking the trains-on-time track with his Hitler angle by saying that, despite that whole Holocaust and World War II business, Hitler's policies were good for Germany. So good, in fact, that he celebrates the ways he sees that Obama is emulating the mustachioed mad-man's economic prescriptions with the massive takeover of the economy and bloated government spending on "stimulus." 

You know the left has lost it when they are invoking the "success" of Hitler to prop up The One! 

If I might rephrase Leonhardt's opening sentence a bit: "Every so often, the left serves up an analogy that’s uncomfortable, a little distracting and yet still very telling." 

The telling thing here is that Leonhardt is willing to ignore the ultimate outcome of Hitler's policies so that he might justify the destruction of the capitalist system, elimination of personal property rights, and to excuse away giving dictatorial power to an all encompassing government juggernaut here in the US. He so dearly wants the Keynesian theory to be the right one that he is willing to turn his face from genocide and world war to prove his wishes beneficial to man. 

Here is how he sets up his absurd take on history: 

More than any other country, Germany -- Nazi Germany -- then set out on a serious stimulus program. The government built up the military, expanded the autobahn, put up stadiums for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and built monuments to the Nazi Party across Munich and Berlin. 

Oh, sure Germany became a powerhouse previous to the outbreak of WWII. But, what Leonhardt criminally ignores is that Hitler made Germany a powerhouse by stealing the personal property and wealth of minorities and business owners alike and remanding them to the state. And then, to sustain this wild growth, he launched a war of greed and acquisition on his neighbors that added to that power but cost the lives of millions. Germany built this empire on the destruction of God-given rights, oppression of religious and ethnic minorities, and widespread death and war. 

In light of the final outcome, I'd wager that this Hitlarian bargain doesn't seem very appealing to anyone but Leonhardt. 

From here, Leonhardt segues into an appreciation of the policies of the most communist of presidents we've ever had, Franklin Roosevelt. Leonhardt rehashes New Deal apology by claiming that FDR's economic plans helped the USA out of The Great Depression. He says it all proves that, "Yes, stimulus works." 

Of course, like many who admire FDR, Leonhardt glosses over the fact that none of FDR's policies worked at all until the gearing up for war began. He also ignores the unsustainability of Germany's economic "benefits" that dictated that it must go to war to expand the pool of wealth from which the state could steal to support its wild growth. In fact, that same war aim that helped FDR's economic outlook was also unsustainable to the point that the singular goal was, indeed, war. At some point, it must be realized, the war will end and one faces either destruction -- whether mutual or exclusive -- or at the very least will discover a cessation of the activity involved in the run up to war and hence the economic "stimulus" that it entails. Leaving? Leaving an empty hole where that artificial war stimulus was and no stable economic activity to fill it. 

In fact, the main reason that the US came out of WWII so strong wasn't because we had spent ourselves to prosperity by gearing for war, but because afterward we became the supply house and construction company of the civilized world by helping re-build the many nations devastated by that war.

A little further in the piece, we realize just how benighted Leonhardt's understanding of things economic is when he favorably quotes George Soros, a man that has admitted that his singular goal isn't to improve the economy, but to destroy it in order to remake the world in his own image. 

George Soros, the billionaire investor who was born in Budapest and works in New York, came to Washington last week and captured both the problem and the potential for a solution. “I think they can be brought around,” he said of the Europeans. “I am actually hopeful something constructive can happen.” 

Leonhardt's got to be kidding, right? This from a man that said that the world's economic collapse was "the culminating point of my life’s work"?

Leonhardt's Soros quote could certainly have been uttered by Hitler himself because there is no elucidation of the moral theme behind what being "hopeful" that "something constructive can happen" means. Like Hitler, what Soros means by "constructive" would NOT be an outcome that any humane person would agree is so wonderful! Yet, from Leonhardt's treatment we have to assume that he imagines that Soros' "constructive" must obviously be a mutually beneficial good for us all. Leonhardt truly does not understand Soros' apocalyptic point. 

Anyway, Leonhardt's ridiculous exposition on the benefits of the socialist model is replete with so many misunderstanding of history, so many bald faced denials of truth that it boggles the mind. 

But, it was interesting to see a slavish Obamaite trying to assure us of how wonderful The One is by favorably comparing him to Hitler. I laughed right before I threw up a little in my mouth over the reality of it all.

Stimulus Thinking, and Nuance

By David Leonhardt | MARCH 31, 2009 

In the summer of 1933, just as they will do on Thursday, heads of government and their finance ministers met in London to talk about a global economic crisis. They accomplished little and went home to battle the crisis in their own ways. 

More than any other country, Germany — Nazi Germany — then set out on a serious stimulus program. The government built up the military, expanded the autobahn, put up stadiums for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and built monuments to the Nazi Party across Munich and Berlin. 

The economic benefits of this vast works program never flowed to most workers, because fascism doesn’t look kindly on collective bargaining. But Germany did escape the Great Depression faster than other countries. Corporate profits boomed, and unemployment sank (and not because of slave labor, which didn’t become widespread until later). Harold James, an economic historian, says that the young liberal economists studying under John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s began to debate whether Hitler had solved unemployment. 

No sane person enjoys mixing nuance and Nazis, but this bit of economic history has a particular importance this week. In the run-up to the G-20 meeting, European leaders have resisted calls for more government spending. Last week, the European Union president, Mirek Topolanek, echoed a line from AC/DC — whom he had just heard in concert — and described the Obama administration’s stimulus plan as “a road to hell.” 

Here in the United States, many people are understandably wondering whether the $800 billion stimulus program will make much of a difference. They want to know: Does stimulus work? Fortunately, this is one economic question that’s been answered pretty clearly in the last century.

Yes, stimulus works. 

When governments have taken aggressive steps to soften an economic decline, they have succeeded. The Germans did it in the 1930s. Franklin D. Roosevelt did so more haltingly, and had more halting results. Even the limp Japanese recovery plan of the 1990s makes the case. Although dithering over a bank rescue kept Japan in a slump, government spending on roads and bridges made things better than they otherwise would have been. 

No matter what happens in London on Thursday, President Obama and other world leaders are sure to claim the meeting as a success. (“I do not regard the economic conference as a failure,” Roosevelt said in 1933.) 

But if the meeting is going to be an actual success, it will have to do more than put a happy face on trans-Atlantic disagreements. It will need to begin nudging the discussion about stimulus toward a more accurate reading of history. 

The Americans and Europeans aren’t really as far apart as Mr. Topolanek’s AC/DC homage suggests. Europe is doing less than the United States, but the gap isn’t huge. It just seems so because European stimulus tends to arrive quietly, from existing safety net programs. In this country, where the safety net is weaker, stimulus comes largely from new laws. 

Yet the rhetoric from Europe — even the more subdued recent remarks, like those of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — still creates a problem. Stimulus skepticism today will make it harder to pass more stimulus tomorrow. And more will probably be needed. 

George Soros, the billionaire investor who was born in Budapest and works in New York, came to Washington last week and captured both the problem and the potential for a solution. “I think they can be brought around,” he said of the Europeans. “I am actually hopeful something constructive can happen.”

Photo: The French delegation to the global economic conference in London in 1933 during the Depression. Little came of the meeting, which adjourned in six weeks with no major agreements. Credit Associated Press

The objections to stimulus tend to come in two forms: Its costs are too high, and its benefits too small. 

Mr. Topolanek and German officials have been pressing the first argument. They say that the additional government spending can lead to inflation and government debt. The Weimar Republic of the 1920s, where inflation helped lead to Hitler’s rise, casts a long shadow. 

Stimulus opponents here in the United States — mainly Congressional Republicans (though not, tellingly, Republican governors of some large states) — have been warning about debt, too. But they have also been making the second argument. When the government spends money, they say, it simply displaces spending by the private sector. Republicans on Capitol Hill have taken to citing a recent book by the journalist Amity Shlaes, “The Forgotten Man,” which claims the New Deal didn’t work. 

Theoretically, neither of these arguments is crazy. But they don’t have much evidence on their side. 

The best takedown of Ms. Shlaes’s thesis came from Eric Rauchway, a historian, who pointed out that her favorite statistic did not count people employed by New Deal programs to be employed. Excluding the effects of the medicine, the patient is as sick as ever! 

When Roosevelt stuck to a stimulus program, unemployment fell markedly, and the biggest stimulus of all — World War II — did the rest. It’s true that economic models say the economy shouldn’t work this way. When resources are sitting idle, businesses should find a way to use them profitably. But they often don’t. 

People become irrationally pessimistic during a downturn. They are driven by what Keynes called animal spirits. Only government can typically change the dynamic. 

Could the government spending eventually lead to inflation and crippling debts? Absolutely. But the mistakes of the last 80 years have gone in the other direction. During the Great Depression, Japan’s lost decade, the Asian financial crisis and even the last 18 months, governments didn’t act aggressively enough. Deflation and lack of growth ended up being the real risks. 

These are precisely the risks facing the world economy now. In Spain, prices are already falling. Layoffs are still mounting around the world. Financial firms have more losses to acknowledge. 

Given the diminished standing of the United States, Mr. Obama won’t be able to get the Europeans to fall in line behind him this week. But he can still make progress. He and the American delegation can, in gentle terms, ask the Europeans to live up to their own standard — and remind them of their self-interest. 

Two weeks ago, responding to criticism, an executive of the European Central Bank wrote a letter to an Italian newspaper claiming, “fiscal stimulus in European countries is wholly comparable to that seen in the United States.” That simply isn’t true, as the chart at right makes clear. The difference amounts to about $200 billion over three years. 

Because the global economy is in many ways integrated, Europe can benefit from American stimulus without pulling its own weight. But because the global economy isn’t completely integrated, European stimulus would still help Europe more than anywhere else. And that presents the American delegation with perhaps its most persuasive case. 

Right now, Eastern Europe appears to be one of the world’s most vulnerable places. It is a relatively poor region, where the population is disaffected and where the economy is shrinking rapidly. In both Estonia and Latvia, the gross domestic product fell 10 percent last year. 

At the G-20, the leaders of the richer European countries will be asking the world to help Eastern Europe. By all means, the world should help. But Europe should reconsider its part, too.