Friday, February 06, 2009

Porkulus Has Been Tried Before

And it's failed.

Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery. Now, as the Obama administration embarks on a similar path, proposing to spend more than $820 billion to stimulate the sagging American economy, many economists are taking a fresh look at Japan’s troubled experience. . . . Among ordinary Japanese, the spending is widely disparaged for having turned the nation into a public-works-based welfare state and making regional economies dependent on Tokyo for jobs. Much of the blame has fallen on the Liberal Democratic Party, which has long used government spending to grease rural vote-buying machines that help keep the party in power.

NYT link via Instapundit.

I wasn't enjoying Hugh Hewitt's show on the drive home from work today, so I switched over to Michael Savage. He's pretty extreme, but he said something today that struck me as inarguable: A crisis of excess debt cannot be solved by more debt.

We're in deep trouble.

Update, 2/10/09: Here's another column, subtitled A History of Folly.


Pomoprophet said...

we're screwed... its gonna pass and down the drain we'll go.

Ellen K said...

I'm not a big Hewitt fan, although I like some of his written work over his radio stuff. Savage is pretty brutal when it comes right down to it, but he does sometimes strike the right note. I don't care for his condemnation of fellow conservatives. I still prefer Glenn Beck and Rush because even in the worst of times they can make me laugh. God, we need that.

Erica said...

Ellen - You might try Jerry Doyle (of Deep Space 9 fame) out of Las Vegas if you can pick him up on the web. Great personable conservative radio.

Anonymous said...

We are hosed.

Anonymous said...

You can have Savage. I get so tired of his endless references to his two PhDs which he intersperses with pedestrian insults directed at everyone it sometimes seems.

We had a local radio political commentator who came from the same school of thought, Mark Scott. His particular conceit was that he was a philosophical heavyweight. He'd explain liberals as being "in a Heracletian flux" when he wasn't ranting about their stupidity, insanity and, uh, stupidity.

Darren said...

Wow. I listen to the guy *once* and I'm told I can *have* him? If I *wanted* him I'd listen to him every day instead of Hugh Hewitt.