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Floyd and Mary Beth Brown: Politics can’t save economic problems

Posted: August 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

This week we are in the European Union, here to observe the European economic crisis from a front row seat. What we found was even more disturbing than we expected.

One Englishman explained their predicament to me like this. “First they told us this was the worst recession since the early 1980s, and then they told us that it was the worst recession since the 1970s, and then they told us it was the worst recession since World War II. Now they are telling us here in Britain that it is as bad as the Great Depression.”

He then went on to explain, “We feel fortunate here in Britain because in Ireland, Spain and Greece people are starting to go hungry.” We could hardly believe our ears. On the continent of Europe the economic crisis is so difficult that hunger is the result for the first time since World War II.

The economic problems we face are beyond the ability of politicians to solve. Since the economic crisis began in 2008, every three months on average the political establishment in America and Europe has announced some type of bailout or economic rescue operation.

What the politicians fail to recognize is that each successive bailout is like the heroin which lures and destroys the addict. At first a small amount of heroin can provide the fix, but with each successive high, the addict needs more of the drug. It is same with the bailouts. Each one is bigger than the next, and none ever heal the patient but end up making him worse.

In America, as in Europe, our elected leaders, Republican or Democrat, are powerless against the storms that are buffeting our economy. We find ourselves astonished that any individual, be he, Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama or European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, would be so arrogant as to believe their actions can solve the problems.

The business cycle of boom and bust is largely created by governments and central banks, and only time will heal the pain these institutions created, and only after they cease their misguided attempts to control everything. In his most excellent book, Human Action, the greatest voice of Austrian Economic theory, Ludwig von Mises, sums it up this way, “there is no way to avoid the collapse of a credit boom — and that more credit expansion simply destroys the currency.”

The Obama administration has taken us to the desperate point where 40 cents of every dollar spent at the federal level is borrowed. Much of the borrowed money has been printed by the Federal Reserve. This is called monetizing the debt. Never in history has this not led to financial disaster.

The empirical evidence shows the politicians are in a hopeless position, and more bailouts will only prolong the pain.

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are bestselling authors. To comment, e-mail


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