FROM THIS PUBLICAN'S PERCH
By Chris Poh, Publisher of American Public House Review
A toast at The Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City. Click here cowperson for a visit to this enjoyable establishment.
Who’s Buying the Next Round
Most economic theory is split between two schools of thought when it comes to dealing with hard times: the Neoclassical crowd, which believes that any government spending and regulation hampers growth by removing resources from the private sector, and the Keynesian contingent, that argues that only an infusion of capital from the public coffers can stem the tide of a serious decline. Unfortunately, for those millions of unemployed who are still suffering the effects of the greatest financial downturn since the crash of 29, the political class of 2012 will most likely do little more than to continue to debate which approach might best create jobs—with the true intent of securing or keeping for themselves that one available constitutionally mandated job opening in the Oval Office.
As for myself, I tend to lean toward those who support the philosophy and principles of John Maynard Keynes. One need not look any further than to study the history of the Transcontinental Railroad, or the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways to understand the fantastic economic growth and employment that has occurred as the result of government spending. More recently, the rescue and resurgence of General Motors will most likely be remembered as another feather in the Federal cap. And what red-blooded capitalist would ever turn down the chance to garner a fat government contract.
But I do empathize with those conservatives that are correctly concerned about some of America’s spending habits. On the other side of the coin though, we can not lose sight of the fact that there has always been a fairly successful, although sometimes less than ethical, partnership between the public sector and the free market. And that government provided entitlements have for the most part kept in check those forces of unrest and chaos that have been detrimental to capitalism on so many other parts of the globe.
There are those political voices that liken these entitlements to nothing more than an unearned free round drinks. But from where this publican is sitting, it has been my experience that liberals and conservatives alike believe that their loyalty, patronage and hard work (at keeping a barstool warm) is part of some greater social contract that entitles them to a free drink from time to time. Sometimes that libation comes about as part of the liberality of the proprietor, and on other occasions it is the result of some private benefactor at the bar. No matter the source of that welcomed bracer, it is good to keep in mind that buying the next round is good for morale, good for the soul—and always good for business!