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Strategic impotence

Chris Dillow on strategic impotence; i.e. when you claim you’re unable to do something when you simply choose not to do it:

Perhaps the most important example of strategic impotence, however, lies in the public finances. The idea that we cannot afford increased public spending because of the state of the public finances is of course plain wrong. At current long-term interest rates, governments can borrow tens of billions and repay less in real terms. As Maynard Keynes said, “anything we can actually do, we can afford”. The constraint on public spending is a lack of sufficient labour and materials, not of money. Denying this fact is strategic impotence. The claim that we cannot do something is used to hide the fact that we choose not to do so.

Anything we can actually do, we can afford. This I like.