Bruce Bartlett worked for Ron Pual in his first term as an ardent Austrian (and the author of a not-bad work on Pearl Harbor revisionism). Then he moved to Kemp as an ardent supplysider; then he was an official in the Reagan and Bush I Treasury; then he worked for NCPA, a libertarian neocon outfit, and was very close to Cato; now he is a plain leftist and open Keynesian.In his recent NYT column, Bartlett makes it clear that he is indeed a Keynesian. He writes:
...as the Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff has argued, a short burst of inflation would do more to fix the economy’s problems than any other thing. One reason is that inflation raises spending by encouraging consumers and businesses to buy things they need immediately because prices will be higher in the future.This is as Keynesian as you can get, with talk of boosting aggregate demand to get the economy going.
The right policy can be debated, but the important thing is for policy makers to stop obsessing about debt and focus instead on raising aggregate demand.
"Boosting aggregate demand" is code for growing the size of government. It's not bureaucratic governmentt spending that boosts an economy. It is increased private sector production meeting the demands of consumers that boosts the economy. Any steps taken to "boost aggregate demand". i.e. increasing government spending, actually slows down economic growth by taking resources away from the private sector.