“Why I Support Obama”: Point 1 – Addendum

In addition to what I wrote in my previous post, I’d like to add this short video from Richard Epstein.  He says government has the responsibility to “get out of the way”.  (Thanks to David Henderson of EconLog for the link).


His closing:

If we started to unravel that [all the government interference in health care], we would solve many of the access problems caused mainly by our own regulatory ingenuity, which somehow or another, always manages to backfire.

Impressive Podcast

The guest on this week’s EconTalk podcast is Richard Epstein of New York University and Stanford’s Hoover Institution and he discusses regulation.

I highly recommend listening to the whole podcast.  Epstein does an excellent job of discussing the intricacies and problems with things like the health care legislation, the financial reform and the FDA.

With about 16 minutes in the podcast, Epstein launches a criticism of Keynesian economics that I haven’t heard before.  In case you don’t know, Keynesian economics underpins government expansionary efforts like stimulus spending.


It [Keynesian economics] never tells you where it is that you’re supposed to quit. Take something like unemployment benefits. If 52 weeks are better than 26 weeks and 99 weeks are better than 52 weeks, are we going to say 200 weeks are better than 99 weeks?

If I were an enterprising reporter, I might be inclined to start asking politicians when will we know to pull government out?  When will we know that we should move unemployment back to 26 weeks?  When will we know that we don’t “need” stimulus spending?  When will we know when the health care bill is making things better?

Of course, the easy answer would be, we will know it when we see it.  When the economy is back in shape.

Next question: So, if the economy gets back in shape, say when unemployment reduces to 6%, can we count on you to sponsor legislation to shorten the duration of unemployment benefits?