Sunday, March 7, 2010


Keynesianism made its biggest breakthrough under John Kennedy, who, as Arthur Schlesinger reports in A Thousand Days, "was unquestionably the first Keynesian President." Kennedy's economists, led by Chief Economic Adviser Walter Heller, presided over the birth of the New Economics as a practical policy and set out to add a new dimension to Keynesianism. They began fo use Keynes's theories as a basis not only for correcting the 1960 recession, which prematurely arrived only two years after the 1957-58 recession, but also to spur an expanding economy to still faster growth. Kennedy was intrigued by the "growth gap" theory, first put across to him by Yale Economist Arthur Okun (now a member of the Council of Economic Advisers), who argued that even though the U.S. was prosperous, it was producing $51 billion a year less than it really could. Under the prodding and guidance of Heller, Kennedy thereupon opened the door to activist, imaginative economics.
from Time Magazine, 31 December 1965

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