The stimulus, if it is going to actually do anything productive, needs to be temporary, targeted, and timely. This bill is none of those things. Instead, it’s a disappointing, unfortunate product of fiercely partisan politics and the epitome of business-as-usual. And I’m sorry – honestly, because I wish it wasn’t true – but you can’t even make the argument that this is “change.” It’s a massive permanent increase in government discretionary spending (pork) mascarading as economic stimulus. Ninety percent of the alleged stimulus is for special-interests and social programs that, however well intended, will not and cannot create economic growth. This thing is an albatross.
Here’s a round-up of some of the better pieces I’ve seen on this (click links to read full articles):
– Wall Street Journal. “By our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus.”
“This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was written based on the wish list of every living — or dead — Democratic interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, “We won the election. We wrote the bill.” So they did.”
– Centrist columnist David Brooks. “In a fateful decision, Democratic leaders merged the temporary stimulus measure with their permanent domestic agenda – including big increases for Pell Grants, alternative energy subsidies and health and entitlement spending. The resulting package is part temporary and part permanent, part timely and part untimely, part targeted and part untargeted.”
– Here’s a full page ad that ran in the NY Times wherein hundreds of economists, including Nobel laureates and other prominent scholars, have signed a statement disagreeing with the concept that massive government spending is needed to stimulate the economy.
– Thomas Sowell (among the most respected economists in the world).– “Using long, drawn-out processes to put money into circulation to meet an emergency is like mailing a letter to the fire department to tell them that your house is on fire.”
“In the name of protecting the taxpayers’ investment, they are buying the power to tell General Motors how to make cars, banks how to bank and, before it is all over with, all sorts of other people how to do the work they specialize in, and for which members of Congress have no competence, much less expertise.”
– Jim Pethokoukis from U.S. News and World Report points to 10 demonstrable reasons why these ideas won’t work.
– For something a bit more fun, see my post from a couple weeks ago.
– Dan Mitchell from the Cato Institute explains it in this video: