Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An Interview with Yaron Brook: Is Rand Relevant?

Excerpt from Michael F. Shaughnessy interview with Yaron Brook:

4) What would John Galt say about the programs proposed by President Obama?

Again, I don't want to be presumptuous and speak for John Galt, but certainly everything Obama is proposing today parallels what the political villains in Atlas Shrugged were proposing—and we know what John Galt thought of their actions. From Obama's first day in office, he has engaged in massive violations of individual rights and massive redistribution of wealth.

From a purely economic perspective, the actions of the Obama administration are sure to prolong and deepen the recession we're in today, potentially driving it into depression territory. You cannot stimulate the economy by taking money from some people and giving it to others, which is the basic idea behind any stimulus bill that Congress passes. Money that would have been used for productive purposes, if left in the hands of the original, rightful owners, is instead shifted to the hands of those chosen by some government bureaucrat to receive it. That is simply wasteful, to say nothing of the moral transgression involved. In no way does that create economic activity. The multiplier effect that the Keynesians talk about is close to zero, not above one, and I think Obama's policies are, across the board, detrimental to the American economy.

But just as much as we should be bashing Obama, we shouldn't be letting the Bush administration off the hook. They started us on this path of bailouts and stimulus packages—we had a $300 billion stimulus under Bush last year, and a $700 billion bailout under Bush. Obama's actions are, for the most part, 100 percent consistent with Bush's policies—and they're going to be equally destructive.

To the extent that we're going to get out of this crisis, it won't be because of anything Obama does or anything Congress does. It will be a result of the ingenuity, the productivity, and the work ethic of the American public—of the entrepreneurs, the businessmen, and the workers in this country. Provided, of course, that the remnants of freedom which allow those entrepreneurs and those businessmen to have an impact do not disappear.

To read the full interview...