Saturday, February 07, 2009

The stimulus needs to stimulate

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has a chart that gives the the relative value of various spending/tax cut policies to GDP growth.  The way I read this is that spending is stimulus, tax cuts are not.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this bill is truly intended to stimulate the economy, then it should be primarily a spending bill.  In 2001, we went through this same discussion when Bush and the Republicans passed a tax cut bill in the teeth of a recession, and it had little lasting effect as we are learning now since almost the entire GDP growth has been illusory.

Now for some reason we are having the same tired old discussion.  No doubt I would like my taxes cut as much as the next guy, but the fact is that the CBO-- and almost all serious economists-- states it would have little effect on GDP.  If McCain and Lindsay Graham are not going to try to understand economics then the Democrats should jettison their attempts for a bipartisan compromise and pass the correct bill on straight party lines.  The Republicans have already marginalized themselves with failed policies.

On a related note, Charles Krauthammer lets us know how he really feels with the silliest vitriolic column I've read in quite a while.  While there is valid criticism of the current stimulus bill, Krauthammer seems to have had this thing written months ago and decided to file it this week.  If this type of delusion is emblematic of the way the next 4 years is going to play out, at least we can enjoy the comedy show.   

These same Republicans had almost nothing to say about the massive expenditures in Iraq which was full of waste for an ill-advised war, and BTW, had no multiplier for the US GDP.  

No comments: