Personally, I have more intellectual honesty than to compare a political leader I disagree with to Hitler (though I can’t say the same for others). Shockingly, however, a recent New York Times economic editorial makes just such a comparison, but in an attempt to cast the similarity in an auspicious light. I give a heads up to RedState for the article.
The piece by David Leonhardt is devoted to upholding and defending Obama’s stimulus strategy, with the opening argument illustrating how well government stimulus worked for Germany, taking it out of the economic dumps of the Weimar Republic and powering it back into a European superpower. It’s a serious argument made by a respectable economic scholar. At least, I assume he is.
Mr. Leonhardt forgets that Hitler’s government stimulus was by no means voluntary or fair, as minorities and enemies of the state (or enemies of Hitler) were denied access to business. And in writing for an American audience, he leaves out the point that such policies are inherently socialist, enacted by a man who led a party called the National Socialist Worker’s Union. FDR’s New Deal is likewise cited as an example of government stimulus success, again leaving out the fact that Roosevelt’s policies likely extended the Depression and that it took the extra-governmental event of World War II, in which we were pitted against Hitler and his marvelous stimulus policies, to pull us out.
Mr. Leonhardt doesn’t spend the whole piece on the Hitler comparison, but the fact that he makes it at all simply blows my mind. If liberal economists are finding that this is the only piece of world history of stimulus success they can refer to, might I humbly suggest they reevaluate their position?