Jan 10, 2010

Thomas G. Donlan: "Contrary optimism" about the economy

Looking ahead, a compelling reason to expect a strong recovery is bull-headed contrarianism: Few experts expect one.

Most experts on the left believe the economy won't expand without more commands and more controls and more borrowed stimulus money from Washington. Most experts on the right say the command, controls and stimuli are so overwhelming that they have made business leaders afraid to take risks.

Both are wrong. The U.S. economy is still a powerful engine of productivity. Growth will come despite the heavy burdens of health care, climate control and regulation.

Business has survived vigorous enforcement of old antitrust rules, old securities regulations, old labor laws and old restraints on banking. It can survive the creation of new ones. Indeed, entrepreneurs can invent around the subsidies and penalties imposed by those who claim to know exactly what we need to build a new era.

~ Thomas G. Donlan, "All Gone for Nought?," Barron's, January 11, 2010

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