Labor leader Charles Loiacono made an impassioned speech to the Nassau County Legislature last week, telling them the $166 million capital budget they were about to approve was a prime example of Keynesian economics at its best.
“Kudos! Kudos to all of you,” Loiacono said as some of his labor colleagues in the audience exchanged wide-eyed looks.
“Today you will prime the pump,” Loiacono said, explaining the Keynesian concept of having the government spend money — even if it means running a deficit — to create demand and stimulate the economy.
The problem was that there are no known Keynesian thinkers among the 11 Republicans who now control the legislature.
Democrat Wayne Wink of Roslyn, whose party lost power at the beginning of the year, tried to point this out to Loiacono, who is president of the Adjunct Faculty Association at Nassau County Community College and also president of the Nassau Coalition of Labor, representing municipal workers.
“Charlie. Charlie. Let me interrupt for one second,” Wink said. “You keep talking about Keynes you might lose 11 votes on that side.”
Loiacono was not fazed, and launched into a brief history of John Maynard Keynes and Economics 101 and how Keynesian economics creates jobs.
“We know it was Ronald Reagan who created jobs,” Republican Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt said, prompting laughter from the construction workers and union leaders who had packed the legislative chamber to urge passage of the budget, which should retain and crate private-sector jobs on county projects.