For a guy who died in 1946, John Maynard Keynes-the economist who invented living beyond your means as government policy-has been getting quite a bit lot of ink lately. Much of the current discussion of Keynes is in connection with this weekend’s G8 summit.


 Indeed, a Wall Street Journal opinion piece this morning frames the G8 meeting as part of the story of the end of “the neo-Keynesian economic moment, and perhaps the start of a healthier policy turn.” An end to Keynesian economics would be good news for taxpayers eager to hang onto a larger chunk of their earnings.


 The article sums up our Keynesian-based response to the current economic downturn:


 For going on three years, the developed world’s economic policy has been dominated by the revival of the old idea that vast amounts of public spending could prevent deflation, cure a recession, and ignite a new era of government-led prosperity. It hasn’t turned out that way.


 The response to all our economic crises of the last few years has been the same: spend more money! That will, in essence, be what President Obama will be urging other nations to do at the summit. But the Wall Street Journal notes:  


The difference this time is that the Keynesian political consensus is cracking up. In Europe, the bond vigilantes have pulled the credit cards of Greece, Portugal and Spain, with Britain and Italy in their sights. Policy makers are now making a 180-degree turn from their own stimulus blowouts to cut spending and raise taxes. The austerity budget offered this month by the new British government is typical of Europe’s new consensus.


To put it another way, Germany’s Angela Merkel has won the bet she made in early 2009 by keeping her country’s stimulus far more modest. We suspect Mr. Obama will find a political stonewall this weekend in Toronto when he pleads with his fellow leaders to join him again for a spending spree.


Meanwhile, in Congress, even many Democrats are revolting against Stimulus III.


The blog item immediately below contains a link to a Fortune magazine article that claims that our relentless spending is based on a misreading of Keynes. Even the original big spender, the article insists, would not want to be spending at our current levels at this juncture.