Economist Robert Higgs scolds the "fair weather friends of the market" in this article.
many people who are widely regarded as lions of the pro-market side have gone
over to the dark side in recent months. I am not going to name any names; if you
are one of the guilty parties, you know who you are; and the rest of us know,
too, owing to your public expressions of anti-market sentiment in newspapers and
on the World Wide Web. Why have so many notable economists and others jumped
Higgs raises a great point, and I share his disappointment that so many so-called free market economists and experts have so readily abandoned their principles for the latest tidal wave of Keynesian public opinion.
so expert after all. Indeed, many of them seem to have failed to understand how
markets work and how government actions can hobble or kill those workings. Many
have talked as if they actually believe in vulgar Keynesianism or other crackpot
ideas – about "systemic risk" where none exists or about "missing markets" for
poor-quality assets that only a fool would try to sell privately when the
alternative of a munificent government buyout shimmers on the horizon.
Higgs is especially on-point with this summary of what the next four years will bring, wondering why so many free-market analysts are cheering on such bad policy:
idea of the Obama regime’s "creating jobs" by bankrolling infrastructure
"investments" might as well come with a written guarantee attached that it will
generate nothing but resource waste and the pork-barrel distribution of vast
amounts of taxpayer money to satisfy the appetites of congressmen, local
politicians, construction unions, and real-estate interests. Even if a road, a
bridge, or a sewer system ultimately comes forth as a visible result, the unseen
alternatives forgone are almost certain to have greater value for those from
whom the grasping hand of the federal state has stripped the wherewithal to pay
for the projects. Free-market analysts ought to understand such matters, which
are scarcely arcane, and anyone who has watched the government’s responses to
previous recessions, from 1929 to the present, ought to understand the present
situation without remedial instruction from me.