A Vulgar Keynesian Visits My Chamber

I heard a noise that seemed to come from my chamber door.

I opened it, and then . . .

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams some Austrians dared to dream before;
But recession was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only words there spoken were the whispered words, “Spend more!”
These I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “Spend more!”
Merely these and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a yapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
‘Tis hot air and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Keynesian of benighted days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with Lord Keynes’s mien he perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Mises just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this mainstream guest beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance he wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Keynesian peddling academic lore—
Tell me what thy best advice is on this sad recession’s shore!”
Quoth the Keynesian, “Just spend more.”

Much I marveled this ungainly boob to hear discourse so plainly,
Though his answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was cursed with seeing a Keynesian above his chamber door—
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
Saying only “Just spend more.”

But the Keynesian, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
Those three words, as if all his advice he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other loons have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as recovery hopes have flown before.”
Then the fool said, “Just spend more.”

Robert Higgs is Retired Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Founding Editor of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
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