Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keynes, Kenya: Not the Same?.

Is President Barack Obama really a Keynesian?

When comics at Second City posed the question at Comedy Central’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” Saturday on the National Mall, some of the responses were pretty heated. One flannel-clad Obama supporter said, “He was born in Hawaii. That is a state of the United States. He is born here legally, and he is an awesome president.”

Keynesian, of course, refers to the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes, the Depression-era economist who believed governments sometimes needs to intervene in market economies. Many have said Mr. Obama channeled Mr. Keynes when he pushed a $787 billion stimulus bill through Congress last year.

But “Keynesian” also looks a little bit like “Kenyan,” the homeland of Mr. Obama’s father. The president’s ties to Africa have caused some to believe he was born in Kenya, not America. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Obama’s camp released a birth certificate from Hawaii.

“What proof do you want? He gave you proof,” one woman told the Second City folks, referring to the president’s birthplace. “You people are trying to make something out of nothing.”

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