Through it all, Keynesian economics kept our economy humming while widely shared prosperity created the sense of national solidarity that a world role required.
So, if Mr. Dionne is right, if indeed Keynesianism kept our economy humming from WWII on (not my position by the way), why would he advocate abandoning it at a time when our economy is anything but humming?
And do conservatives who say they favor American greatness think they are strengthening our nation and its ability to shape events abroad with an ongoing budget stalemate created by their refusal to reach agreement with President Obama on a deal that combines spending cuts and new taxes? Would they rather waste the next three years than make any further concessions to a president the voters just reelected?
Here was Keynes---from The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes (London: Macmillan, Cambridge University Press, 1972)---on how wealth creation (as opposed to wealth taxation) might increase the national income, and how "a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget." In other words, here was Keynes himself in stark opposition to the sorts of proposals recently put forth by the Obama administration:
When, on the contrary, I show, a little elaborately, as in the ensuing chapter, that to create wealth will increase the national income and that a large proportion of any increase in the national income will accrue to an Exchequer, amongst whose largest outgoings is the payment of incomes to those who are unemployed and whose receipts are a proportion of the incomes of those who are occupied...
Nor should the argument seem strange that taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget. For to take the opposite view today is to resemble a manufacturer who, running at a loss, decides to raise his price, and when his declining sales increase the loss, wrapping himself in the rectitude of plain arithmetic, decides that prudence requires him to raise the price still more--and who, when at last his account is balanced with nought on both sides, is still found righteously declaring that it would have been the act of a gambler to reduce the price when you were already making a loss.
Interesting! So Keynes clearly would've counseled against raising taxes during the slowest recovery on record. Of course he would've been against government spending cuts as well. He maintained that the boom, not the bust, was the time to cut spending. The problem being, as we've witnessed, that legitimate spending cuts are anathema to career crony-ridden politicians, regardless of whether the economy is booming or busting, or whether they call themselves Keynesians.
Better, therefore, to spend within our means, regardless...