By Bill McIntosh, staff writer
Dr. Williams what are some of your thoughts quickly looking over the past 50 years in America?
Well in terms of manufacturing, employment is way down but manufacturing output is way up… in the last couple of decades… what it means is If you just added up the dollar amount of our manufacturing as a separate nation our manufacturing would be the 4th richest nation on the face of this earth. [But then there’s] the massive moral problems associated with the decline of our nation and I think that the biggest problem among the American people is an overall disrespect of the United States constitution. The politicians are doing precisely what the American people what them to do-to use the power of their office to take the property of one American and bring it back to them whether it´s social security, Medicare, prescription drugs, highway construction funds, aid to higher education. The big problem that threatens the future of our nation is the very fact that the American people just have contempt for the United States constitution and the politicians are reflecting that contempt.
Is the current situation as bad as or worse than the Great Depression and how does government fare in all of this?
At least if you measure by unemployment, the peak unemployment during the Great Depression was 25% and even at 1938 it was 20% and so our unemployment has not approached those figures yet. Now the big problem is yes there’s a lot of similarities between what this administration is doing and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration [was] doing that is the so called New Deal of the Roosevelt administration aggravated what would have been a two or three year downturn [in] the economy and turned it into a damn near 15 year affair and I think what the Bush and the Obama administrations have done, with the help of congress, and with the help Republicans and Democrats they turned a sharp downturn into what we have now today… a very significant recession and it doesn’t look like we’re gonna be out of it anytime soon.
Rush Limbaugh once mentioned that Arthur Laffer said he could fix the economy in 18 months. Would it be so far fetched to turn the economy around in relatively short order?
It’s not a tall order at all. It’s a tall political order but so far as a economic order or intellectual order I mean the simple step is for government to stop what it’s been doing and that is like if you see somebody being beaten across the head and you say well what should I do to help well stop beating him and so it’s the same thing that Washington needs to get out of our lives but see again I stress, and people do not pay me enough attention, the politicians are doing what the American people want them [to do].
Herman Cain is proposing a 9% tax on corporate income; a 9% tax on personal income and a 9% national sales tax. What do you think of this plan?
I like his plan but it has a snowball’s chance of getting enacted. The reason why is the two most powerful committees in congress are the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. These people are in charge of giving tax breaks. They can get a lot of campaign finance for giving tax breaks. So the flat tax would eliminate their ability to play favorites with one American versus another and so it will never get enacted.
Dr. Walter Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University and a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh. Williams has authored many books including most recently “Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?”
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This day in history September 28
1987: The Palestinian civil disobedience uprising “The first Intifada” against Israel starts.
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