Money $marts: The dismal ditsy science

GERRY KRAMER

Thomas Carlyle, a 19th century Scottish writer and historian, coined the term “dismal science” to describe economics. Supposedly, he was inspired by economist T. R. Malthus’ gloomy prediction (in his book “On Population”) that population would always grow faster than its ability to feed itself, thus dooming mankind to an unending cycle of poverty, starvation and war.

While this forecast proved to be false, the “dismal science” moniker stuck until the mid 20th century, languishing only when economics became focused more positively on prosperity rather than doom. No descriptive term emerged to replace “dismal,” i.e. until now. Economics has become the ditsy science.

With the economy brought down by a feckless government and now stagnant with 9 percent unemployment, it seems there’s no end to proposals for creating jobs and restoring “fairness” to the system. Ditsy is the only way to describe these ideas spewing from the mouths of politicians (assumingly being advised by expert Ph.D. economists) and other leadership pretenders. Actually, “ditsy” is probably being kind. The following programs or legislative acts have not been formalized yet, but could logically be derived from actual public statements.

The iPad Eradication Jobs Creation Program: Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., in a speech on the House floor, recently declared that the iPad is “now responsible for eliminating thousands of jobs (because) librarians and bookstore employees and all the jobs associated with paper… will simply not exist.” Presumably, laid off Apple workers could fill the explosive renewed demand for bookstore clerks.

The Perpetual Unemployment Benefits Job Creation Act: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi believes that extending unemployment benefit payouts is a boost to job creation because all the money is spent by the job seekers creating new jobs throughout the economy, except for those who receive the checks to stay unemployed. “It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”

The Supermarket Live Cashiers Jobs Act: California Congresswoman Barbara Lee has declared war on automated checkouts at grocery stores. She refuses to use them because she knows “that’s a job or two or three that’s gone.” The Cashiers Jobs Act will require flesh and blood checkers in all markets. Longer lines will be worth it.

The Regulatory Proliferation Employment Act: Senator Barbara Boxer has declared regulations to be a jobs creator. The more regulations the more people are needed for compliance. “Industries that provide environmental protection” have created more than a million jobs. The Obama administration has set a record for new industry regulations thus unemployment has shrunk, right?

The Green Energy Only Unemployment Elimination Act: “Our economy needs a jolt from a volt,” said President Barack Obama recently. (Actually his comment ended after “jolt.”) This act would end all fossil fuel usage in five years. Whole new green energy industries will blossom to replace the dirty energy producers. Millions of new jobs will be created as the rest of the economy falls off a cliff.

I think I liked it better when economics was the dismal science. Then again, this ditsy thinking is pretty dismal.

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Write to gerryk3001@yahoo.com.

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