May 7, 2009
Jeffrey Alan Miron
Senior Lecturer on Economics, Harvard University
in a lively conversation
The Crisis, the Bailout and the Stimulus
Why Government Is the Problem
Most commentators blame the financial crisis on Wall Street greed, rating agency failures, and insufficient regulation.
Further, they assume only government can fix the mess.
In fact, misguided government polices produced the crisis, and the Treasury bailout did little to help.
Rather than bailing out banks, the U.S. should have let failure and bankruptcy run their course.
The stimulus package assembled by the Obama administration is ill-conceived and will generate huge costs for decades.
About Jeffrey A. Miron
He's Senior Lecturer on Economics at Harvard U. He received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Swarthmore College in 1979 and a Ph.D. economics from M.I.T., 1984.
Miron has served on the faculties of the U. of Michigan (assoc. prof. with tenure), Boston U. (prof. with tenure), as a visiting professor at the Sloan School of Management, M.I.T. and the Department of Economics, Harvard U.
From 1992-1998, he was chairman of the Department of Economics at Boston U.
He has published more than 25 articles in refereed journals and 30 op-eds in the Boston Herald, Boston Business Journal, and Boston Globe.
He has been the recipient of an Olin Fellowship from the National Bureau of Economic Research, an Earhart Foundation Fellowship, and a Sloan Foundation Faculty Research Fellowship.
His area of expertise is the economics of libertarianism, with particular emphasis on the economics of illegal drugs.
Visit his blog "The Case for Small Government: Musings of a Libertarian
He writes: In this blog I provide a libertarian perspective on economic and social policy. By libertarian, I mean consequential libertarian, not philosophical libertarian.
Thus, my arguments are based on assessments of costs and benefits, not on assertions about rights.
My claim is that most government policies do more harm than good, even when the policies have good intentions and even when private arrangements work imperfectly.
Most posts will take one of two forms. Some will draw the reader's attention to a news article, or opinion piece, or blog, that seems worth reading, with or without my comments.
Others will present my views on a particular news story or particular policy.
Overall, I emphasize three themes in particular.
The first is that consequential libertarianism is consistent in its approach to the issues. Modern liberalism and conservatism are not.
The second theme is that both liberals and conservatives advocate massive amounts of government intervention.
The two perspectives disagree about precise policy choices, but overall they are far more similar than different.
The libertarian perspective, however, is truly distinct from either mainstream view.
The third theme is that most economic and social problems are best addressed by eliminating the government interventions that caused or exacerbated the problem in the first place.
Creating even more government is never a sensible approach.
This blog aims to persuade, but it also aims to educate.
I hope to convince readers that the libertarian perspective is interesting, even if I cannot convince them it is right. Time will tell whether I succeed.
This blog is one outgrowth of a course titled A Libertarian Perspective on Economic and Social Policy that I teach at Harvard University.
The course presents the libertarian perspective on a broad range of issues, from drug legalization to Social Security to environmental policy to abortion rights to gay marriage and more.
To everyone who visits this blog, thanks for your interest.
Comments and suggestions are welcome.
For more information on this Junto event, including
time, location, and other features of the meeting see the May