Compiled by Nick Gillespie
On February 17, President Barack Obama signed into law a sweeping $787 billion stimulus plan that, he said, would begin “the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time.” During the contentious debate over what ended up passing Congress on a nearly party-line vote, Obama declared, “There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help jump-start the economy.”
Suspecting that there was more disagreement out there than the president was letting on, reason asked 10 economists what they expect from the stimulus package. The results were not very optimistic.
Robert Higgs, a senior fellow in political economy at the Independent Institute; editor of the institute’s quarterly journal, The Independent Review; and author of the classic 1987 study of government growth Crisis and Leviathan.
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, an associate professor of economics at San Jose State University.
Megan McArdle, who writes about economics, business, and politics at The Atlantic.
Deirdre McCloskey, a reason contributing editor who teaches economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Allan H. Meltzer, a professor of political economy and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Jeffrey A. Miron, a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard.
Michael C. Munger, a professor of economics and chairman of the Department of Political Science at Duke.
William A. Niskanen, a former member of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and chairman emeritus of the Cato Institute.
Johan Norberg, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who is writing a book on the financial crisis.
Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.
Outside of the obvious pork, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?