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Stephen Green: “Print It and They Will Come”

June 22, 2011

I must admit I had not thought about some of the people who Stephen Green of Vodkapundit calls “The Smartest People in the World™” being “cargo cultists”.  But as he points out in an incisive column titled Print It and They Will Come, that is what the apologists for “QE1” and “QE2” have become:

Cargo cults arose in the South Pacific during the Second World War. US soldiers and marines would arrive on an tropical island, and one of the first things they’d do was build an airstrip. Then the cargo planes would arrive and — Americans being Americans — our boys would share their loot with the half-starved locals. Candy, clothes, condoms, whatever.

The war eventually ended and the soldiers left and the cargo planes stopped coming. So the locals would make their own airstrips, using whatever tools they had — some quite elaborate. Then they’d stare at the skies and wait for the cargo planes to return.

That’s what quantitative easing is. “Print the money,” they say, staring at the skies, “and the goods will come.”

Well, no.

The goods must first be produced, and with the expectation of a profit. I know it’s fashionable for Paul Krugman to assert that “uncertainty is just a myth.” But this idea that there are Person Units called “Businessmen” who continue to produce goods no matter what government does to them is a liberal conceit. It’s the same liberal conceit that believes there are other Person Units called “Doctors” who will go on treating patients and finding new cures for diseases, no matter what government does to them.

People change their behavior as incentives change. And for the last three years, the incentive has been to hunker down and try not to get hurt.

I really do not see any awareness of this most basic law of human behavior on the part of the statists now in the Democratic Party and the current Administration.  The only way to correct this situation is to get them out of office and elect people in 2012 who can comprehend that we must have a government that can and will “get out of the way” and make it acceptable, even rewarding, to invest time and capital and take risks.  Only then will we be able to turn things around for real with the economy.  Read the rest of Stephen Green’s column!

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