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Monday, November 23, 2009

Liberal Stimulus Working; More to Come

The New York Times reports on the consensus among economists that the stimulus passed last February is working.

What's that I hear? Liberal spin from that elitist New York paper? Actually, reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael Cooper give White House a hard time for using overly optimistic economic assumptions last winter. And Michael Blake at Understanding Government says NYT overemphasizes bipartisan balance over the truth that the liberal side of the stimulus, government spending, is doing much more of the heavy economic lifting than the conservative side, the tax break concessions used to muzzle the Blue Dogs. Blake says Calmes and Cooper's "thesis statement" on the superiority of the combination of spending and tax breaks doesn't connect with the bulk of economic evidence finding that spending programs provide more bang for the buck.

Clearly, the evidence Cooper and Calmes martial about economists’ views on the stimulus should point to one conclusion: economists believe that liberal Democrats who wanted to spend billions of government money on economic stimulus are absolutely in the right. Republicans who instead want tax cuts not stimulus spending are absolutely in the wrong. Maybe Cooper and Calmes or their editor felt uncomfortable with the unmistakably partisan consequences of their analysis. But it was someone at the Times who chose the premise: What do economic experts, not politicians, think about the stimulus? It was a good idea for a story, but Cooper and Calmes obscure their results and, in the process, confuse their vast readership [Matthew Blake, "In Stimulus Piece, New York Times Chooses Bipartisan Balance Over The Truth," Understanding Government, 2009.11.20].

Also worth noting: we've spent only a quarter of the stimulus money. In other words, Captain Obama has managed to pull the Enterprise back from the economic black hole at one-quarter impulse. There's much more to come. Contrary to the desires of the instant-gratification Republicans, slow and steady is going to win this recession race.


  1. Borrowing money from those that have not even earned it plus extending every single federal and state program will fail. Corporations need to stand on their own, stop the tax credits and make true cuts to our government budgets.

    You have to let the business cycle run its course. Let the American people alone, we can succeed without stimulus.

  2. So what has unemployment done so far? Gone up! As Vox Day points out, once you subtact governemnt spending the economy went down. So the net result is the rich plutocrats are getting richer via the government, and the rest of us are paying for it. Do you Progressives like that redistribution?

  3. ...and we'd be all the poorer if the President and Congress hadn't acted.

  4. It's not us I worried about being poor....it's our children.

  5. I worry about us too. Unless we put the brakes on the deficit spending, most of us will live to see America become the sort of place that the founders wanted to prevent it from ever becoming.

    I am now convinced that this administration and this Congress have a clear and well-planned agenda: (1) generate a massive deficit; (2) scare us, the people, enough to accept any "solution" to the deficit problem; and finally (3) pass into law new, increased, and unprecedented taxes, thereby turning the USA into a European-style socialist republic ...

    ... and I, for one, don't want it. The economy needed stimulus a year ago. The economy now needs the opportunity to function the way that our founders meant for it to function.

  6. Paul Krugman has made the argument that we do better by our children to get the heck out of this recession as fast as possible, with as much stimulus as we can pour on now, so that we can generate more revenue later and reduce the deficit sooner.

    Now the alternative—and I'm willing to entertain it—is to take the Thad Wasson approach: end all deficit spending, balance the budget today, pay down the debt immediately. No more stimulus, no health care reform (and probably cuts to Medicare), no energy security act, no more troops overseas, military budget cut in half, and probably a host of other changes. I suspect doing so would mean returning to a recession more punishing than the one we're trying to climb out of. We'd return to the economy suffering booms and busts every few years—that how the economy functioned in the 1800s... the way that our Founders meant it to function?

    Stan, I can't go where you go, assuming a conspiracy behind the Dems plans. Their agenda is as deep as what we see: fix the economy with the only non-lethal tool we have left, deficit spending. But even if the agenda were to make us accept higher taxes, well, why not just propose that outright? If we're serious about cutting the deficit, shouldn't we finally pay for all the services we've been lapping up over the last few decades? It's not enough to just turn our glasses over and say No more; we still have to pay the tab we've racked up... don't we?

    Again, I'm willing to entertain massive budget cuts and massive tax increases as responsible budgetary policy. But I want to hear the advocates of those policies show some leadership and convince people that the wrenching pain such action would bring is our just dessert, the sacrifice we are obliged to make for our future generations.

  7. Cory, the massive tax hikes and deficits that Obama et al want is NOT my just desserts. I want the gov't to live within its means, and that means no more "cash for clunker" type policies, no more 2000 page bills passed in the middle of the night on a weekend, no more lies about coming tax hikes. I also means that our elected officials have to be willing to listen to the people, not blow them off and retreat to DC and do whatever their party leaders tell them to do or bribe them to do. We the people are smarter than we were a year ago; we are starting to watch our gov't and how it operates, and we don't like it or trust it, with good reason it seems lately.

    I asked on another post - where is the 2/3 of unspent stimulus money? Why does O want more now? Why is employment higher if he claims his stimulus is working? Why is he spending my taxpayer money on bribes to get his health care package passed? Just a few little questions that we should be asking instead of relying on questionable statistics and graphs which can be made to prove any side of an issue you want to push.

    And I agree with Stan as to Obama's plans for our nation.

  8. Linda McIntyre, we live in South Dakota. We've lived off government handouts (slightly more than $3 back from Uncle Sam for every $2 we pay in). South Dakota has thrived on deficit spending and government largesse. Higher taxes and lower spending are our just desserts... or so I would be led to believe by Republican thinking.

  9. Cory,

    Did you kow coveting is a violation of Natural Law. Now that we know South Dakota is part of the problem, isn't it time to fix it?

    So lets start by figuring out who pays the $2 and then who gets the $3...and then figure out the cost of implementing that redistribution. Perhaps those of us giving the $2 give it directly to those needing it and deserving of it, we only need to spend $1.

  10. How much of that extra money from the feds goes to the reservations? I'd like to see a breakdown in that regard.


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