The media conversation about the global economic weakness would make a serious economist blush. Perhaps the greatest economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes, argued that what drives an economy to prosperity are the "animal spirits" of entrepreneurs. When does the media reference "animal spirits?"
In the name of Lord Keynes, today's pundits push ridiculous policies that waste resources, incentivize rent-seeking behavior, and stifle "animal spirits." The so-called "stimulus plan" enacted in 2009 is a perfect example of such policies. Nearly $ 1 trillion was washed down the government rat-hole in the "stimulus plan." The supporters of the "stimulus plan" argued that they were making "investments" for the public good, but virtually no roads or public facilities were built or even improved.
Instead, the 2009 stimulus plan redirected resources away from the private sector and down the government-corruption spigot. Result: slowest economic recovery in US history. All of these absurd policies cite Keynes as their inspiration. Were Keynes alive today, he would be embarrassed by this nonsense.
"Animal spirits" require the rule of law, official encouragement of free markets, and respect for the capitalist process, all of which are in retreat in modern America. Meanwhile, charlatans pushing government favors for special interests are praised by the media -- examples abound.
Free markets reward imagination, hard work and thrift. Modern American (and European) economic policies increasingly penalize all three. Only Asia is moving in the right direction as the Western world moves in the opposite direction.