With America embroiled in its biggest disaster of the 20th Century, the Vietnam War, the President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, decided that he himslef should micro-manage the entire war effort, after his heavy reliance upon Defense Secretary Robert McNamera.
McNamera and his top advisors were called “Whiz Kids;” and they embraced a new thinking called systems analysis.
McNamera’s charts and graphs were never wrong: until Communists overwhelmed Vietnam in 1975.
The Team LBJ startegy for a time in Vietnam could easily have been called “Pour in More.”
LBJ also decided, despite the costs of the war in Vietnam, he could still execute his vast social reforms in the “Great Society.”
He was wrong.
President Obama, a man not short of brainpower and hubris, might be falling into the LBJ trap.
Obama is currently relying upon economic advisors and economic advice that could possibly be totally wrong for the nation. Keynesian economics, as many say, is an unproven theory: and far from a certain fix.
And “Pour in More” doen’t seem to be working just yet.
Worse still: those that predict economic recovery, like businesses in a position to hire and those able to express confidence in economic growth by investing, are not pouring in anything. They are bailing out.
Ashas said: “Beware of geeks bearing formulas.” He said this about the young lions of economic thinking around just now, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
He could have said the same thing about Robert McNamera.
And Obama’s move to execute a broad social agenda including health care reform, energy use overhaul and other spending efforts, might just remind some of the LBJ dilemma. Obama is waging a war to revive the economy; yet he insists upon also setting America upon a totally new direction that will cost unknown trillions — even as he allows business as usual pork spending and waste to be executed in Congress.