Saturday, November 20, 2010

Truer words...

From the Minority Report of the Joint Committee on the Economic Report of the President, Economic Report of the President, January 1949 pgs 4-5:

The report abounds in statements that the Government must take "proper" action, make "wise" and "needed" economic adjustments...such statements beg the questions with which we are concerned and do not help us to any clear solution. They presuppose easy "right" answers, upon which, of course, everyone is supposed to agree...If such words admitted they are only an expression of hopes, there would be no harm, but experience in other countries, as well as our own, teaches that such words often have a propganda purpose in the hands of those who use them, designed to discredit anyone who may disagree. The only "wise" decisions are those which the speaker makes. The only "proper" action, the only "adequate" steps, are those which the proponent himself takes without even suggesting or admitting that there is any other remedy. Adjustments "needed" and the order of priority assigned to them, are inevitably limited to the desires and vision of their advocates.
Emphases mine. I found this gem in a long-forgotten textbook of economic readings* and thought it might be more widely quoted. A Google search indicates that it is not.

*Basic economics; a book of readings. Editors: Arthur D. Gayer, C. Lowell Harriss & Milton H. Spencer.

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