Don’t stop believing (in structural reform and austerity)

From:            Gue Frank [mailto:frank.gue@cogeco.ca]
Sent:              Tuesday, April 19, 2016 3:01 PM
To:                   letters@economist.com
Subject:         Don’t stop believing (in structural reform and austerity), Apr. 9

 

Dear Editors:

 

Most would agree that properly directed stimulus and

properly directed austerity are both good things.

Then why is there a “debate” between them?

 

It’s because many – perhaps most – politicians don’t

understand “properly directed” .

 

Example:  Expenditure is mistaken for stimulus,

which must be directed toward productive ends.

What is sometimes called “stimulus” is often

merely a process of scattering currency to the

winds.  Any “stimulating” government must ask the

question:   What improved tooling, process, or

product can be financed with my “stimulus”?

 

There is a direct link from this question to the

current handwringing over the steadily falling

numeracy in the Western economies.  Many

politicians now in high office were victims of

so-called “Progressive” education.   Starting

in the 60s, this has turned out grown adults

some of whom cannot even count, much less

do arithmetic, less yet understand discounted

cash flow and similar analyses that tell a private

firm whether some project is productive or not.

 

Modern education systems like “Discovery”

math actually train students to become

innumerate and to hate math.  When this

can be corrected, the debate between

“stimulus” and “austerity” will vanish.

 

F.

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