I love it when the Denver Post's news coverage belies its editorial conservatism.
On Tuesday, the Post slapped the headline: "More spending not the answer" atop its main editorial, suggesting President Obama was a little off his rocker for arguing with his European colleagues in the Group of 20 that governments need to spend more now to fuel economic recovery rather than cut back, which the European heads of state want to do.
The Post's editorial writers even referred to "left-leaning" economist Paul Krugman, whose column they published directly below their editorial, to subtly underline their opposite tack and to show readers they can be as conservative as any European social democrat.
Krugman, on the other hand, took on the Europeans and blamed them for an economic orthodoxy of austerity that fueled the Great Depression of the 1930s and what he called a Long Depression of the late 19th century. (He expanded on that column in the Sunday Post's business section. The earlier column is no longer searchable on the Post's website.)
Both times in American history, Krugman said, government officials prescribed economic penance -- high interest rates and low government spending -- and caused both initial recessions to elongate into painful, 10-year or longer depressions and recoveries.
Obama's call for more government spending is a recognition of history, while Republican and conservative Democratic calls for restrained deficit spending -- denying extended unemployment benefits to millions of people across the nation -- forget history and ignore informed policy in favor of knee-jerk reaction.
The old ways, some say, have served us well in the past. Oh yeah? When? While ordinary people lose ten years of prosperity to some kind of reverence to establishment principle?
Meanwhile the Post's business writers continued to report stories that go beyond conventional wisdom. Steve Raabe reported Friday that Creighton University economist Ernie Goss has spotted a robust manufacturing and service-industry recovery underway in Colorado, which often runs countercyclical to the national economy.
And Greg Griffin, in Sunday's business section, reported on the real economic pain already being felt by people whose unemployment checks have stopped.
Austerity boosters are usually people who can sustain their levels of income during a business downturn. The bosses who lay off workers usually keep their jobs; I know, I was one of them.
But the U.S. economy right now needs more spending, both from government and from private businesses, to keep hold of a recovery that has not yet gained momentum. Banks need to lend to small businesses so small businesses can hire workers who become consumers, driving renewed economic growth.
It's all there in the history books. All we have to do is remember what we've already learned.