THE BLOG
02/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Deficit Spending -- A Necessary Evil

John Maynard Keynes was not the only world class economist who told us that huge deficit spending is imperative in order to pump life back into a recessed, depressed, catastrophically mismanaged economy.

Last month, more than three hundred of the world's best economists led by several Nobel Prize winners, created a road map for Barack Obama that basically said two things. First, they tell us that we have only begun to feel the pain of W's political and economic policies. Secondly, they stated that if Obama does not undertake stellar deficit spending, America's economy will spin into a global economic catastrophe.
Several of those economists, including the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, went as far as to say that it would take as much as a steady $600 billion a year to make serious inroads toward saving capitalism. Obama is already undertaking a course of action that appears consistent with Krugman's advice. Fortunately, Obama has been a defacto president for more than a month now.

But conservative think tank geniuses, like Newt Gingrich -- who by the way helped put us here -- are telling us that the sky will fall if Obama gets his way. It shouldn't be much of a news flash to point out to that wildly discredited crowd that W's misfit teams of political and economic advisors already have heaven crumbling down around us.

In the 1930's the political and fiscal conservatives of that time plunged America into an abysmal depression and then attacked Franklin Roosevelt when he undertook the Herculean effort to clean up their mess. Twelve years of Herbert Hoover and Warren Harding-style Republican presidential stewardship almost obliterated capitalism in America.

During those years, Keynes' theory of deficit spending as a way to save capitalism was regarded as socialist witchcraft. But fortunately, FDR ignored the protests of the conservatives who brought us the Great Depression. FDR forged ahead with infrastructure and World War military spending that moved the deficit to levels that had never been seen by any nation in the world.

Similarly, Obama has inherited the deregulated, mismanaged, corrupt mess created by the Hoover-like dullards of our day, and now he already is under attack by that same crowd as he searches for a way out.

As Obama steps into this quicksand economy, he seems to realize that short-term stimulus plans are only a Band-Aid solution for a gaping, almost mortal wound. Corporate welfare money divided up among a few corrupt and inept investment bankers, and Wall Street money changers will not stop the bleeding this economy has only begun to experience.

Long-term stimulus will require astronomical levels of spending that will naturally leave us with a queasy feeling when we see all those zeroes in newsprint. But it is going to require all those zeroes to rebuild our economy, one job, one road, one bridge, and one new technological advancement at a time. According to three hundred of the world's best economists, every move Obama needs to make to save this economy will require the weight and scale of a Manhattan project or an Apollo program if we are to pull through these economic dark years still ahead.