President Barack Obama has shown a determination to redistribute wealth by increasing government spending, despite unsustainable deficits. We shouldn’t be surprised if Janet Yellen, the president’s nominee to be Federal Reserve chairman, shares his objective.
Americans are egalitarian. This trait has long frustrated plutocrats who, more than a century ago, invented Social Darwinism to teach that the rich prospered because they were smart and productive. Few people believed this, not then and not now.
By the early 1940s, the Keynesian Revolution in America was in full swing. Fast-moving events in Germany obliged Franklin D. Roosevelt to spend on the vast scale that John Maynard Keynes prescribed. Despite the president’s assurances during the 1940 presidential campaign -- “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into foreign wars” -- he ordered a gargantuan rearmament program. In 1940, the annual defense expenditure was $2.2 billion; the following year it reached a sizzling $13.7 billion.
Germany, with the help of the European Central Bank, has achieved a level of dominance in Europe it hasn’t enjoyed since World War II. It is to that period, and a bit earlier, that it might look for lessons on how to save a troubled European project.
The U.K.’s visual-arts sector got off lightly in Chancellor George Osborne ’s spending review while the performing arts got hammered. That’s the headline assessment, and the figures seem to bear it out --superficially, at least.