Richard Posner: "Capitalism in Crisis"

Capitalism in Crisis
Richard A. Posner
Wall Street Journal
May 7, 2009

The current economic crisis so far eclipses anything the American economy has undergone since the Great Depression that "recession" is too tepid a term to describe it. Its gravity is measured not by the unemployment rate but by the dizzying array of programs that the government is deploying and the staggering amounts of money that it is spending or pledging -- almost $13 trillion in loans, other investments and guarantees -- in an effort to avoid a repetition of the 1930s.

Much of this sum will not be spent (the guarantees), and probably most will eventually be recovered. But a commitment of such magnitude -- stacked on top of enormous budget deficits enlarged by sharply falling federal-tax revenues -- could lead to high inflation, greatly increased interest costs on a greatly increased national debt, much heavier taxes, the restructuring of major industries, and the redrawing of the line that separates business from government.

Richard A. Posner