Saturday Entertainment: Lewis Black On Economics

It’s a standup routine from a few years ago, but Lewis Black made more sense here in eight and a half minutes than a typical American economics reporter does in a typical year:

Of course, Keynes didn’t really say that we should just build “a big fucking thing”, nor did he mean that having folks dig holes and fill them up again was the best plan. What he was saying was that it’s a better plan than not employing people.

There are plenty of things that need doing in America. If you can’t think of at least two things, I’d say you’ve really not been thinking about America for a while. Employing people to do those things would be a much better plan than either stimulating the banks through Quantitative Easing or its ilk, or pointless tax breaks for the rich.

Wikipedia describes Keynes’ ideas:

Keynes developed a theory which suggested that active government policy could be effective in managing the economy. Rather than seeing unbalanced government budgets as wrong, Keynes advocated what has been called countercyclical fiscal policies, that is, policies that acted against the tide of the business cycle: deficit spending when a nation’s economy suffers from recession or when recovery is long-delayed and unemployment is persistently high—and the suppression of inflation in boom times by either increasing taxes or cutting back on government outlays. He argued that governments should solve problems in the short run rather than waiting for market forces to do it in the long run, because, “in the long run, we are all dead.”

Keynesian economics (Active fiscal policy)

The current depression, AKA the “Great Recession”, serves as proof that Keynes was right. Five years after the initial crash, the economy shows no real signs of recovery. None of the endless tax breaks and spending cuts by federal, state, and local governments has reversed that trend, nor would anyone with a functioning brain think it would. We’ve been cutting taxes and spending for decades. At some point, you really do start cutting bone, and we started seeing the white dust a long time ago.


About Cujo359
An engineer, computer programmer, and former defense worker who also does amateur theatre. Contact: my nom de ordinateur at

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