There are no magic solutions and clinging on to the old mantras of the past just lacks any credibility or logic. So as the global economy traverses even further into unknown territory it is unhelpful, if unsurprising, that we have to hear the voices of the right calling for old style monetarist and government expenditure restraint policies. Take Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for example. He says

“In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.”

So at a time when the President calls for unity of purpose and cross-party consensus the Republicans want to play politics. Wake up Mr Jindal the world has changed. This isn’t about the “Democratic view” or the “Republican view” it’s about the national interest and the GOP’s playing with politics is playing with fire. I am sure that the Republicans with their naive historic belief that “freedom and laisser-faire” are the ways to govern a big economy will find it galling that the reason that we are all in the mess that we are in is because there was too much freedom and insufficient regulation. The “empowered individuals” of the Bush years greedily pursued their own interests and dragged the economy into the morass. Restraint on government spending won’t worry them of course as the good old boys of Lehmann Brothers and the rest enjoy their early retirements in comfort in The Hamptons and on Key West. No – the people that would be hit if Government doesn’t spend are the poor and the unemployed – many of whom were thrown out of work by the very policies that Mr Jindal now advocates.

The history that President Obama is no doubt studying is both ancient and modern. “Ancient” the lessons of the inter-war years may be but relevant they certainly are today. Obama’s new deal needs to rival even exceed Roosevelt’s – and he deserves support across Congress for his vision and his Keynesian proposals. And the “modern” lessons are that never, ever again – and certainly not now – must America return to the discredited and fatal mantra that less Government is more. It isn’t. Good government is more – and that is what the President has proposed.

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