The Economy: We Are All Keynesians Now

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the Employment Act, establishing Government responsibility to achieve "maximum employment, production and purchasing power." The act also created the Council of Economic Advisers, which for the first time brought professional economic thinking into close and constant touch with the President. Surprisingly it was Dwight Eisenhower's not-notably-Keynesian economists who most effectively demonstrated the effi cacy of Keynes's antirecession prescriptions; to fight the slumps of 1953-54 and 1957-58, they turned to prodigious spending and huge deficits.

J.M.K. & L.B.J. Still, Keynesianism made its biggest breakthrough under John Kennedy, who, as Arthur Schlesinger reports in A Thousand Days, "was unquestionably the first Keynesian President." Kennedy's economists, led by Chief Economic Adviser Walter Heller, presided over the birth of the New Economics as a practical policy and set out to add a new dimension to Keynesianism. They began fo use Keynes's theories as a basis not only for correcting the 1960 recession, which prematurely arrived only two years after the 1957-58 recession, but also to spur an expanding economy to still faster growth. Kennedy was intrigued by the "growth gap" theory, first put across to him by Yale Economist Arthur Okun (now a member of the Council of Economic Advisers), who argued that even though the U.S. was prosperous, it was producing $51 billion a year less than it really could. Under the prodding and guidance of Heller, Kennedy thereupon opened the door to activist, imaginative economics.

He particularly called for tax reductions—a step that Keynes had advocated as early as 1933. The Kennedy Administration stimulated capital investment by giving businessmen a 7% tax kickback on their purchases of new equipment and by liberalizing depreciation allowances. Kennedy also campaigned for an overall reduction in the oppressive income-tax rates in order to increase further both investment and personal consumption. That idea, he remarked, was "straight Keynes and Heller."

Lyndon Johnson came into the presidency worrying about the wisdom of large deficits and questioning the need for a tax cut, but he was convinced by the Keynesian economists around him, and hurried the measure through Congress. The quick success of the income-tax cuts prompted Congress to try a variant: the reduction this year of excise taxes on such goods as furs, jewelry and cars.

Nowadays, Johnson is not only prac ticing Keynesia? economics but is pursuing policies of Pressure and persuasion that go far beyond anything Keynes ever dreamed of. In 1965 Johnson vigorously wielded the wage-price guide-lines" to hold wages and prices down, forced producers of aluminum, copper and wheat to retreat from price hikes by threatening to dump the Government's commodity stockpiles and battled the nation s persistent balance-of-payments deficit ,with the so-called "voluntary" controls on spending and lending abroad. Some Keynesians believe that these policies violate Keynes's theories because they are basically microeconomic instead of macroeconomic —because they restrict prices, wages and capital movements in some parts of the economy but not others. Businessmen also complain about what they call "government by guideline or "the managed economy, but not with total

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