I certainly want to give props to Paul Shawcross for the informative, humorous and fun-loving way in which he wrote his response — but from a Keynesian standpoint, the arguments he makes are surely inadequate. Shawcross cites the massive price tag associated with building a Death Star, but according to Keynesian principles, we ought to worry much less about the deficit these days, and more about throwing piles of money into job-creating enterprises. Building a Death Star, as I explained in my post discussing the petition, should build oodles of jobs according to Keynesian theory, and Keynesians ought to be outraged that this administration is failing to take the principles spelled out in the General Theory of Employment to the next level. Indeed, I daresay that Keynesians ought to find the administration’s lack of faith in their principles disturbing.
Shawcross appears to be repelled by the idea of building a massive space station that is capable of blowing up planets, but of course, there is no reason why the Death Star should be tasked to blow up planets. Recall Paul Krugman’s comment that we ought to organize our public works plans as though we are supposed to respond to a fake alien invasion. Emphasis on the word “fake.” There can be no bigger, better or more comprehensive response to a fake alien invasion than to build a Death Star and since (one hopes) there are no actual aliens on their way to attack us, there is no need whatsoever to equip the Death Star with the ability to destroy planets.
Shawcross also states that the Obama administration does not want to build a Death Star “with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship.” I applaud this sentiment, but of course, we don’t have to do any such thing. From a design perspective, the Death Star can be improved upon, and blithely assuming otherwise just will not do. Besides, in addition to all of the jobs that can be created by building a Death Star in the first place, we can create even more by employing more scientists and engineers to come up with a design that removes the flaw Shawcross refers to, and which I referred to in my original post regarding this issue.
(I suppose it would be nitpicky for me to reply to Shawcross’s observation that “the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs” by noting—as many, many, many others have—that a parsec is a unit of distance, not a unit of time. I know that George Lucas got this wrong too, but we expect better from the Obama administration. After all, we pay their salaries with our tax money.)
In any event, now that the Administration has come out against the construction of a Death Star, I propose that we get private enterprise involved to construct it. I look forward to the day when we can point with pride to the creation of the Death Star, and then tell the Obama administration that they didn’t build that; someone else made that happen.
Incidentally, I am partial to this Death Star above all others. But then, I am no Keynesian.