Economics

Are You Listening President Obama?: Miami Needs Waterslides! Akron Needs Decorative Fences! Salt Lake City Needs Bathrooms!

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CNS reports that Barack Obama met yesterday with the mayors of nine cities who are asking for almost $11 billion for "shovel-ready" projects including the desperately needed necessities listed in the headline of this post.

To get a sense of the meeting, read this snippet:

Among the mayors who met with Obama, Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz is asking for the most federal tax dollars, a total of $3.2 billion. His requests include $1.5 million to build the Grapeland Flowrider, a new water park attraction, and $100,000 to build dirt-bike trails.

Miami also wants $94 million in federal tax dollars for parking garages at the Orange Bowl, and $20 million for work on a city park that would include a new pool and a sports and fitness center.

Overall, the article notes "the mayors of all 641 cities [represented by the U.S. Conference of Mayors] are asking for $96.6 billion in federal funds for 15,221 municipal projects." Whole bit here.

Reason did a quick litany of the greatest/awful-lest hits of the Conference of Mayors' wish list when it came out. It is truly stunning, even if you believe that the federal government should be spending $71,000 to coordinate the lights on Fort Riley Boulevard in Manhattan, Kansas (an actual request).

Reason Foundation's Bob Poole wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "stimulus shouldn't be an excuse for pork."

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  1. “stimulus shouldn’t be an excuse for pork.”

    That’s like saying donuts shouldn’t be an excuse for fat ass.

  2. Deja vu?

  3. Now all he needs is a catchy slogan, something like “To each according to his need.”

    And some are asaying we need MORE of this. The fantasy now being propagated by Krugman and other lefties is that we should generate $2T in “demand” through wasteful government spending of money it will seize by force later.

    Free markets? Invisible hand? Nonsense, the Messiah has spoken, and that $32 million museum to transsexual peanut farmers will turn this economy right around.

  4. Why would Reason post such a devisive and bigoted picture for this article?

  5. TallDave,

    Now all he needs is a catchy slogan, something like “To each according to his need.”

    Something about fairness that upsets you?

  6. So why are Americans still paying taxes, anyone know?

  7. Something about fairness that upsets you?

    Not at all, it worked great for the Soviets.

  8. if you believe that the federal government should be spending $71,000 to coordinate the lights on Fort Riley Boulevard in Manhattan, Kansas

    Assuming they mean synchronizing the lights to enhance traffic flow, this is one of the few items on the list that actually makes sense.

  9. Whether synchronizing traffic lights is properly the job of the federal gov’t is a different issue.

  10. If he does this for the mayor of Miami, I can only wonder what’s waiting for Daley.

  11. LurkerBold,

    Well I NEED:

    1. Guns
    2. Lots of meat. Kobe beef is preferable.
    3. Alcohol.
    4. J.O.B.S.
    5. A harem of my choice.

    The workers have spoken LurkerBold, make it happen.

  12. J sub D | January 8, 2009, 2:58pm | #

    Yes,
    we’ll put people to work repairing crumbling roads, bridges, and schools by eliminating
    the backlog of well-planned, worthy and needed infrastructure projects.

    Allow me to translate –

    Shovel ready bike paths and senior citizen centers, coming soon to a neighborhood near you!

    So easy, it’s like hunting at the zoo.

  13. No offense intended – responding to LurkerBold is just fucking stupid.

    OK, maybe some offense is intended.

  14. J sub D,

    Keep up with the times, man. So easy, a caveman can do it. Hunting at the zoo? Bah! (waves hand dismissively)

    Unless you’re starting a new thing, in which case, kudos are in order for you being such a trendsetter.

  15. J sub D,

    (sigh) Very well. I’ll stop fucking with him.

  16. So why are Americans still paying taxes, anyone know?

    Men with guns.

  17. Don’t taunt the tigers, or “hunting at the zoo” might take on an entirely new meaning.

  18. So why are Americans still paying taxes, anyone know?

    The feds still have the biggest guns.

    But just wait a few months. The CBO predictions of a $1.2T deficit are still way too optimistic. Almost no one is going to have capital gains this year and there is already a burgeoning cottage industry of tax shelters for small business owners seeking to hide income from the expected new confiscatory tax rates.

    When you take the tax revenue decline, Obama’s original spending plans, and the new stimporkulus plans, it starts to get scary. We could be looking at a $4T deficit — a shortfall equal to a third of the nation’s entire economic output. That is scary.

    If you think things are bad now, just imagine a world in which Treasuries approach junk bond status. With no safe haven for investments, we could see something like the economic panics of the 1800s.

  19. reason, please don’t use that picture for any articles anymore. I had a long talk with my therapist after the last time I saw it. the nightmares we’re finally becoming less frequent, but now?

    I may never sleep well again. Thanks jerks!

  20. Why can’t these projects be funded at the local level?

    Because they *know* they aren’t good investments.

  21. $1.5 million for a flowrider? Shit, I wish I had thought to ask for money before I earned my red wings.

  22. I second LurkerBold’s question: What on earth is the point of that picture?

  23. Agreed on the actual value of stoplight coordination. If anything, $71k isn’t bad, though it may mean that they already have the equipment in place. It’s a lot cheaper than widening the street to get more traffic thru safely.

    I work with traffic engineers. That said….

    http://xkcd.com/277/

  24. Waitress, this food is terrible.

    And the portions are so small!

    Noted for the record: people who don’t believe in recovery packages don’t believe in this one, either.

  25. yusef, surely you can see some of the me-too at work here?

    i don’t blame them – if i worked for city government i’d be sending in grant proposals for all sorts of shit. new hats for horses, a subway artist in residence program, etc. whatever ridiculous shit i could get to stick in there. wouldn’t make it right, or certainly not “necessary” or even useful, or even cool, or even a stone cold groove.

  26. joe,

    Well, see, the problem is that the data on these sort stimulus packages doesn’t demonstrate that they actually lead to any recovery. What they are prone to doing is crowding out private investment and gobbling up resources that the private sector might otherwise use. If you can explain why the latter two won’t happen in this case please do.

  27. joe,

    Indeed, if such massive packages of government spending are so useful why don’t we simply do them full time? You know, central planning, government management or ownership of the “commanding heights,” etc.? How is it exactly that massive government spending can lead to “recovery” yet not run that economy long term?

  28. I would also note that we recovered from the ugly 1982-1983 recession without a government stimulus program of the kind being proposed these days.

  29. Noted for the record: people who don’t believe in recovery packages don’t believe in this one, either.

    Also noted: people who do believe in recovery packages believe in this one, too.

    Did your quasi-ad hominem dismissal have a point, joe? Or were you just clearing your pipes on my screen?

  30. Actually, Seward, for all of the hand-waving Reason engages is, unemployment dropped nine points in the four years after FDR took office, and only went back up after he embarked on a fiscal austerity program in ’37.

    What they are prone to doing is crowding out private investment and gobbling up resources that the private sector might otherwise use. Do you see private investment flowing out there? They can’t even get the companies that got TARP money to do any lending, and you’re afraid that it will be crowded out?

    Resources the private sector would otherwise use? The country is producing way below capacity, and the proposed recovery package is only about 2/3 of the spending that’s disappeared.

    Don’t you worry – if the private sector wants to start investing and spending, which would be awesome, there will be plenty of room for it to do so.

    “Crowding out private investment.” I’ll put that right below inflation and harrassment by pr0n models on my list of things to worry about.

  31. Not at all, it worked great for the Soviets. I some how sense that you do not believe this TallDave

    J sub D, who were you quoting when you translated? I do not think that was me but it made sense.

    joe, you are right again. The recovery package would work better if it was bigger, but I see Obama’s problem with some of the Democrats not thinking as big or as Progressively as him.

  32. Indeed, if such massive packages of government spending are so useful why don’t we simply do them full time? You know, central planning, government management or ownership of the “commanding heights,” etc.? How is it exactly that massive government spending can lead to “recovery” yet not run that economy long term?

    Are you actually unfamiliar with the concept of counter-cyclical spending?

    You understand why the fed raises interest rates during economic booms, rather than keeping them at 0.5% all the time, right?

    BTW, “central planning, government management or ownership of the “commanding heights,” doesn’t have even the vaguest connection to anything that is being proposed. You’re just throwing out boogey-man words.

  33. Don’t worry, you can always print more money!

    That’s what we did in Zimbabwe, and things are better than ever.

  34. Don’t you worry – if the private sector wants to start investing and spending, which would be awesome, there will be plenty of room for it to do so.

    They won’t because they have no sense of social responsibility. We need the government to do it and stop appeasing the corporations.

    “Crowding out private investment.” I’ll put that right below inflation and harrassment by pr0n models on my list of things to worry about.

    Me too.

  35. Yes, let’s have 50% of the economy be government spending. It’s a good start.

    I see no problems with this strategy. Anyone who disagrees is an enemy of the people.

  36. Also noted: people who do believe in recovery packages believe in this one, too.

    And since it’s possible for people who believe in recovery packages in principle to support or oppose particular proposals in practice, that is a meaningful bit of information.

    As opposed to the opposite, people who don’t believe in recovery packages in principle not liking a particular one. That tells us nothing about the merits of the proposal.

    This is a really obvious point, you know.

  37. so if you’re opposed to government waste, pointing out egregious government waste is, like, really useless.

    (or not)

  38. Also noted: people who do believe in recovery packages believe in this one, too.

    And that’s not even a factually accurate statement. If you could stand the horror of exposing your delicate mind to people who don’t already agree with you, RC, you’d discover that the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics thinks that Obama’s proposed recovery package is too small, and numerous Democratic Senators think that it includes too large a portion of tax breaks.

    But creating false equivalencies sure is fun!

  39. Am I to understand that Mayor “The” Don Plusquellic used his influence in the U.S. Conference of Mayors to try to acquire some money to top up his slush funds?

    Say it ain’t so!

    BTW, the fence that some people in Akron want to put up is not so much decorative as it is a measure to stop people (threatening to jump) jumping off it into the valley so often. See, public suicide attempts are icky. Much better to cause desperate people to try more underground/direct techniques so as to increase the rate of success and lower the amount of attention given to depression and suicidal tendencies.

    ‘Course since it’s one of only two bridges in the US (or even the world) of its type, they’re immensely proud of it and want to pretty it up as well.

  40. so if you’re opposed to government waste, pointing out egregious government waste is, like, really useless.

    So if you define all government spending (or at least, all government spending on public goods) as waste, your opinion on whether any particular spending on public goods is waste is, like, really useless.

    Yes.

    Yes, it is.

    It’s like asking a vegetarian if a particular recipe for beef stroganoff is healthy.

    Somebody who actually eats meat can offer a useful opinion on the subject, though.

  41. Step 1: Problem — economic recession. Solution — Massive government spending of money it doesn’t have.

    Step 2: Problem — massive inflation from Step 1. Solution — price controls.

    Step 3: Problem — private companies not observing price controls. Solution — jail private business owners.

    Step 4: Problem — food riots due to lack of provate companies producing food, demands for a new gov’t. Solution — declare emergency, suspend all civil liberties, cancel elections.

    Step 5: There are no problems, only troublemaking revolutionaries. All hail the Party and its glorious leadership!

  42. LoL.

    It’s January 2009. Skyrocketing unemployment following the disappearance of several trillion dollars in investment value. Lowest energy prices in years. Threat of a depression.

    Boy, we’d better look out for that inflation!

    When you’re a hammer…

  43. This is a really obvious point, you know.

    Yes, I know but the ignorant will not listen to us.

    If you could stand the horror of exposing your delicate mind to people who don’t already agree with you, RC, you’d discover that the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics thinks that Obama’s proposed recovery package is too small, and numerous Democratic Senators think that it includes too large a portion of tax breaks.

    But creating false equivalencies sure is fun!

    Don’t hurt yourself typing more to convince him.

    So if you define all government spending (or at least, all government spending on public goods) as waste, your opinion on whether any particular spending on public goods is waste is, like, really useless.

    Yes, yes we are in complete agreement.

    It’s like asking a vegetarian if a particular recipe for beef stroganoff is healthy.

    Trying not to take that example personally but I know it was ment for someone else.

  44. joe,

    Actually, Seward, for all of the hand-waving Reason engages is, unemployment dropped nine points in the four years after FDR took office, and only went back up after he embarked on a fiscal austerity program in ’37.

    As Friedman aptly notes, both GDP and employment recovered far less quickly following the economic downturn of the 1930s than for any of the previous economic downturns (back to the Civil War) prior to the creation of the Fed. The average was something like four years; it took until something like 1943 to reach a full recovery for the U.S. (and that recovery was an anemic one given all the sacrifices consumers had to make for the war). Ten years after FDR came to office. If one views historical events as natural experiments the length of that recovery should say something about FDR’s policies.

    Do you see private investment flowing out there?

    Actually, it is a future natural recovery I am concerned about. The government crowding out that investment and creating regime uncertainty will prolong our economic sorrows just as FDR’s policies did for a decade.

    They can’t even get the companies that got TARP money to do any lending…

    There is plenty of lending going on. It has slowed, and for a good reason: there are lot of bad debts to be wiped off the books, bad debts incurred because of lousy government policies that encourage poor behavior. So yeah, it is smart to be more prudent when it comes to lending (for the time being that is).

    The country is producing way below capacity…

    Actually, the country significantly overshot its production in a number of areas (I wonder why?), particularly in real estate. What we are seeing is a natural readjustment as a result of that.

  45. I would also note that we recovered from the ugly 1982-1983 recession without a government stimulus program of the kind being proposed these days.

    Different situation. We were working to get a period of extremely high inflation under control, so stimulating the economy would have been extremely destructive. So we didn’t, and had to endure a deep, painful recession without counter-cyclical spending to offset it. Which, you might recall, sucked.

  46. Different situation. We were working to get a period of extremely high inflation under control, so stimulating the economy would have been extremely destructive. So we didn’t, and had to endure a deep, painful recession without counter-cyclical spending to offset it. Which, you might recall, sucked.

    You are on a roll! If you would get a little more Progressive you could work wonders.

  47. As Friedman aptly notes, both GDP and employment recovered far less quickly following the economic downturn of the 1930s than for any of the previous economic downturns (back to the Civil War) prior to the creation of the Fed. The average was something like four years; it took until something like 1943 to reach a full recovery for the U.S.

    Which is completely explained by the recession of 1937, induced by the end of the stimulatory efforts and the adoption of fiscal austerity programs.

    If one views historical events as natural experiments the length of that recovery should say something about FDR’s policies. Yes, the abandonment of economic stimulus in order to fight deficits was a huge mistake, as a quick glimpse at a GDP chart from the 30s makes glaringly obvious. A theory that can’t account for this reversal, or for the growth that preceded it (again, the unemployment rate dropping nine points) should be discarded.

    BTW, Friedman was a big monetarist, and thought that the government didn’t do enough to stimulate the economy via lower interest rates during the Great Depression.

    There is plenty of lending going on. It has slowed, and for a good reason: there are lot of bad debts to be wiped off the books…it is smart to be more prudent when it comes to lending (for the time being that is). Exactly – the private sector has no interest in lending right now, and for good reason. That’s why it’s so preposterous to worry about public spending “crowding out” this nonexistent private investment.

  48. Actually, the country significantly overshot its production in a number of areas (I wonder why?), particularly in real estate. What we are seeing is a natural readjustment as a result of that.

    In real estate, certainly. On the other hand, manufacturing and services and entertainment and consumer goods had finally reached decent levels in 2006-2007, and would have continued to drive solid economic growth, were it not for the mortgage meltdown. So, construction aside, it is entirely accurate to say that we are operating well below capacity.

  49. Checking my crystal ball: I predict that LurkerBold will reply with a variation of “that’s what a progressive would say.”

  50. No joe, I will say that we need to nationalize housing to eliminate homelessness and stop all of this wild speculation over sticks and dirt.

  51. We have a saying in my country – the coyote of the desert likes to eat the heart of the young and the blood drips down to his children for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  52. LurkerBold is the most annoying troll in some time.

  53. if you believe that the federal government should be spending $71,000 to coordinate the lights on Fort Riley Boulevard in Manhattan, Kansas

    Good grief. I’m from Manhattan, Kansas. That’s embarrassing. Not as much as some on the list, but still…

  54. Warty, if I am so annoying why did you try to imitate me @1:09pm?

  55. Noted for the record: people who don’t believe in recovery packages don’t believe in this one, either.

    By this logic, it is of no consequence that Iraq war opponents opposed the Surge.

    Also doesn’t matter that opponents of the Drug War oppose no-knock warrants for suspected drug dealers.

    I mean, once you oppose something in general, you automatically lose the right to criticize a particular application as being particularly bad.

  56. “Shovel ready” is incredibly apt.

  57. Q: What’s the only thing more fun than tying a dead baby’s feet to a power line and spinning it around at 200 RPM?

    A: Stopping it with a shovel.

  58. Miami also wants $94 million in federal tax dollars for parking garages at the Orange Bowl

    This is interesting, since the Orange Bowl doesn’t exist anymore. They knocked it down last year. What he’s asking for is the money to pay for the parking garage to be built at the new ($500+ million) baseball stadium that’s going to be on the former Orange Bowl site, that’s being paid for (80%) by taxpayer (well, tourist, but still public) money. The parking garage is something that’s already being built, with city/county money.

  59. Just think about it. A nationalized housing market will prevent house value depreciation and foreclosures blight your neighborhood, prevent a raise the crime rate, and other bad outcomes.

    But don’t worry, you can blame it all on “teh gubmint” when these modest measures of Obama and he other Democrats fix the problems that the corporations made.

  60. joe, I kinda like you. You have my sympathy having LurkerBold as a fanboy. I would not wish that on Barney Frank. Ted Kennedy, maybe.

  61. The TARP, especially the way the Bush administration handled it, is an example of a stimulous plan done extremely badly. The Feds bought 5% of every bank in country. The banks then took the money the Feds gave them and did absolutely nothing with it. It’s plainly stupid on it’s face and clearly doesn’t help the economy much at all.

    However, having the Feds give the states money to build roads and bridges and stuff is an excellent example of a stimulous plan done right. It’s pure Keynesian economics-and, since the states usually can’t deficit spend but the Feds can, this basically is the only way to do it. Now, I would nix the theme park, and any obvious “bridges to nowhere”, but now is not the time to be too picky. The main point here is to get Federal dollars to construction companies who hire people to build things that will be (hopefully) useful for many years to come. Heck, they might even save the domestic automakers in an indirect fashion-construction companies buy lots of pickups when they have lots of work to do.

  62. joe-
    So, by your logic, people who opposed the Iraq war are in no position to criticize how it was conducted?

  63. Kolohe,

    You are just twisting his words around. You know what he means and are just denying the elegance of his logic.

  64. Kolohe,

    If you were, say, John, and I wrote “you know what would be a better way to achieve Teh Victory in Iraq? Pull out. Now. As quickly as possible,” you’d be an idiot to listen to me.

    People opposed to the Iraq War can make a credible case about why it shouldn’t have been fought. People opposed to stimulus packages can make a credible case about why we shouldn’t have a stimiulus package.

  65. I will bet that if joe put a gun to Kolohe’s head Kolohe would be able to describe the difference between what joe said and what Kolohe made up about what joe said.

  66. You are just twisting his words around. You know what he means and are just denying the elegance of his logic.

    Hilarious. You’re getting better, LurkerBold, at least these outlandish statements have some element of reality involved.

  67. But this is a stimiulus package that we can believe in. Why are you guys so dense?

  68. Heck, they might even save the domestic automakers in an indirect fashion-construction companies buy lots of pickups when they have lots of work to do.

    But they’ll cost the domestic automakers in the long run. The damage done by potholes, stop and go traffic, etc, will be reduced, thus increasing the longevity of vehicles and further lengthening the cycle time to repurchase.

  69. Actually, I didn’t dispute Kolohe’s characterization of my point at all.

  70. joe,

    So you are saying that unless you are for something you can not criticize it?

    That is taking you back to the beginning of the week when you were off your meds.

  71. C’mon, this point is simple enough that even you can grasp it.

    Criticizing something on the grounds that it cannot work under any circumstances is different from criticizing the execution of something you do believe can work if done correctly.

    I never thought democracy could be successfully imposed on Iraq at gunpoint. When I criticized Bush’s invasion of Iraq, it was not because I thought that his methods for doing so was wrong, and listening to my criticism would have done nothing to make the effort there more successful.

  72. We could have elected John Murtha or any other Congressional Democrat and got the same “stimulus plan” or debt aquisition plan. Regardless of what you think of the idea it lays to rest even before the innauguaration that there is anything new or inovative about him or that he is anything beyond a conventional Democrat. There is nothing new or dynamic about Obama beyond the color of his skin.

  73. joe,

    Oh, is that what you were saying? OK, I agree.

  74. Also noted: people who do believe in recovery packages believe in this one, too.

    And that’s not even a factually accurate statement.

    Its as accurate as yours was, joe.

    If you could stand the horror of exposing your delicate mind to people who don’t already agree with you, RC, you’d discover that the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics thinks that Obama’s proposed recovery package is too small,

    So he supports it, in principle, he just thinks we need an additional one. I’ll count him in the yea column.

    and numerous Democratic Senators think that it includes too large a portion of tax breaks.

    They support it in principle, too. They just want to tweak the balance between handouts.

    Really, joe, not your best effort. And you never really responded to my real observation, that your statement was nothing more than cheap ad hominem.

    Criticizing something on the grounds that it cannot work under any circumstances is different from criticizing the execution of something you do believe can work if done correctly.

    And here you agree with my point above, that your listing of lefty handoutistas critiquing the Obama giveaway isn’t a listing a lefty handoustistas who are really opposed to it; they would just do it a little differently if they were in charge.

  75. joe,

    Your Meta-LurkerBold handle is becoming annoying. You are shrill and not very funny.

    Why don’t you just post with your own handle and use a sarcism tag or something.

  76. Geoptf,

    …since the states usually can’t deficit spend but the Feds can…

    The states deficit spend all the time. One way they do it is by simply having rolling “balanced budgets.”

    joe,

    There was not a full recovery by 1937 (the four year mark), which had been the case in past economic downturns prior to the creation of the Fed. Indeed, there wasn’t anything even close to a full recovery by that year. So, no, the mistakes of FDR’s administration in 1937 (and the Fed) do not alone explain the long period of economic troubles the U.S was experiencing in the 1930s. As a natural experiment the New Deal was a failure as compared to the more laissez-faire approach of past economic downturns and it is an experiment that ought not be repeated.

    Of course the mere fact that the government could and did increase the misery of the U.S. population in 1937 ought give one pause by itself.

  77. R.C. Dean,

    You know, libertarians have an ideology based on a significant empirical data which is skeptical of government stimulus packages. I’m just, well, you know, shocked!

  78. Its as accurate as yours was, joe.

    Um, no. There actually are people – Krugman, Kerry, Harkin – who are criticizing this specific stimulus plan who support a stimulus plan.

    So he supports it, in principle, he just thinks we need an additional one. I’ll count him in the yea column. You do that, and then we’ll be in agreement – Paul Krugman is in the yea column, but wants changes.

    They support it in principle, too. They just want to tweak the balance between handouts. And since my statement was that there are plenty of people who support a recovery plan in principle yet have criticisms of this proposal, rebutting your statement that everyone who supports a recovery plan in principole also supports this particularl proposal, I thank you for the assist.

    And you never really responded to my real observation, that your statement was nothing more than cheap ad hominem. I have repeatedly explained by point, which was not an ad homenim, but a comment about intent and its relationship to recommendations. I’ll trust that you can go back through the thread at your leisure.

    And here you agree with my point above, that your listing of lefty handoutistas critiquing the Obama giveaway isn’t a listing a lefty handoustistas who are really opposed to it Sigh. No, I’m not going to explain it to you again. I made it simple enough that even LurkerBold understood it. Are you feigning ignorance here, or what?

  79. LurkerBold,

    Not me, dude.

    The idea of a Meta-LurkerBold makes my head hurt.

  80. joe,

    Criticizing something on the grounds that it cannot work under any circumstances is different from criticizing the execution of something you do believe can work if done correctly.

    I have yet to see any empirical data which shows that stimulus packages lead to anything more short-term increases in economic performance and these short-term increases overcome the crowding out effects that such stimulus packages create. I would note that Keynesian economists worry about government spending crowding out private investment over the short, medium and long term nearly as much as free market types do.

  81. Criticizing something on the grounds that it cannot work under any circumstances is different from criticizing the execution of something you do believe can work if done correctly.

    Like when Stalin set back Communism for a while.

  82. Seward,

    There was not a full recovery by 1937 (the four year mark), which had been the case in past economic downturns prior to the creation of the Fed. Trute, but the depression was already much deeper than previous ones before FDR even took office, so it seems a bit of a stretch to claim that the fact that it ended up being a worse recession overall than previous ones was a consequence of FDR’s policies.

    So, no, the mistakes of FDR’s administration in 1937 (and the Fed) do not alone explain the long period of economic troubles the U.S was experiencing in the 1930s. I didn’t claim that they were. The long period of economic troubles in the 1930s were mainly the result of the cascade of financial-industry failures that resulted from the stock market collapse of 1929.

    My claim, rather, was that the 1937 reversal of the recovery that began in 1933 was the consequence of the change in policy FDR implemented that year.

    As a natural experiment the New Deal was a failure as compared to the more laissez-faire approach of past economic downturns and it is an experiment that ought not be repeated. Once again, the Great Depression was a great deal worse than previous ones before FDR ever took office.

    Of course the mere fact that the government could and did increase the misery of the U.S. population in 1937 ought give one pause by itself. Actually, the government didn’t “increase” that misery, so much as cease to mitigate it. What the government did that resulted in more misery was to scale back. I agree, this fact should give people pause.

  83. I have yet to see any empirical data which shows that stimulus packages lead to anything more short-term increases in economic performance and these short-term increases overcome the crowding out effects that such stimulus packages create.

    Actually, you have. You just choose to explain it away, because you object to government spending on public goods for other reasons.

  84. Do you anti bailout people refuse to take the money if offered?

    If you drive on public roads I guess you would take the money too and then complain about it here.

  85. joe,

    …but the depression was already much deeper than previous ones before FDR even took office…

    While the data is more sketchy, I don’t think things were any more dire in 1933 than they were during the depths of the depression in the 1890s. Indeed, unemployment had peaked in 1931-1932 and was already on its way down by the time FDR got into office, so his administration actually had a bit of inertia on its side. Furthermore, GDP as measured in real dollars had also bottomed out in 1931-1932 and was on the rise by the time he entered office.

    …so it seems a bit of a stretch to claim that the fact that it ended up being a worse recession overall than previous ones was a consequence of FDR’s policies.

    It isn’t a stretch at all actually. The data is there and it runs quite starkly against FDR’s policies. Indeed, that was recognized even at the time, which is why the NRA and the AAA were dead even before the Supreme Court struck them down. They proved incredibly unpopular because of all the stupid policies associated with them – cartelization, slaughtering what, two million healthy hogs (?), etc., all to keep prices up for a small minority of the population at the expense of the vast majority of the population.

    The long period of economic troubles in the 1930s were mainly the result of the cascade of financial-industry failures that resulted from the stock market collapse of 1929.

    Sorry, that is simply not the case. The onset of the troubles was largely the result of the Fed’s policies; whether we’re talking about their unwillingness to provide the banks with liquidity (as Friedman believed) or some other factor. The heart of the problem was with the Fed’s actions. I really don’t think anyone disagrees with that anymore. It wasn’t the tariff (Smoot-Hawley), it wasn’t stock market speculation, it was the Fed.

    Once again, the Great Depression was a great deal worse than previous ones before FDR ever took office.

    I beg to differ. There were several economic downturns in the post-war period which were likely just as ugly. That of the 1890s being a primary example.

  86. Are you feigning ignorance here, or what?

    Not at all, joe. Just pointing out the naivete/duplicity of claiming those who say “Gosh, if I were President I would structure my $700BB stimulus package a little differently than this one” are actually opposed to this one.

    The people you cite never met an expansion of government they didn’t like. Its just that they like some better than others.

  87. joe,

    Actually, you have.

    Where exactly? What journal did I read it in? What, were you standing over my shoulder?

    …because you object to government spending on public goods for other reasons.

    That’s just so wrongheaded I have a hard fathoming where you come up with such a claim. I have no problem with the government supporting a military, for example. Nor do I get too upset about the state building roads and bridges (or rather, funding their creation). Though privatization could be something we do more here in the U.S. – copying what other countries do in other words. Indeed, I even like Friedman’s notion of a base income for everyone (whether one wants to call that a public good is another matter).

    What I do have a problem with are government works projects for the purpose of “priming the pump.” The government in that case is assuming a role that is harmful and drags out economic recoveries.

  88. Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz is…

    …a simian taint-sniffer. I say that with some charity, as simians are of the order of higher primates. But it’s Friday. Every chimp deserves his banana.

  89. *shudders*

  90. Ah, the FDR worshiping apologists are all over this thread.

    This no web surfing from work stuff is spoiling my reason experience.

  91. Man, that painting has to be a joke. I can’t believe someone could paint that and not get how bad it is.

  92. This no web surfing from work stuff is spoiling my reason experience.

    You might consider that a feature, not a bug, Guy.

  93. Criticizing something on the grounds that it cannot work under any circumstances is different from criticizing the execution of something you do believe can work if done correctly.

    Yes joe, but that’s not what we’re doing. We’re criticizing this because, not only is it not going to work, but it’s going to have even more adverse effects than the original bailout plan would have.

    Just as Iraq War opponents were justified in criticizing the Surge because they thought it would not work AND result in more dead Americans and Iraqis.

  94. BP,

    That is a creepy picture. Not sure if a more adept artist would be an improvement either.

    ed,

    I was just talking about hitting a thread before the Che crowd got to it.

  95. It’s like a guy wanting to buy a new car for $20,000, and his wife tells him they don’t even need a new car so he shouldn’t spend the money. Then he changes his mind and decides to buy a different new car for $40,000, and when his wife says that’s an even worse idea, he tells her to shut up because she didn’t want the car in the first place.

  96. cunnivore,

    That did not help me. If the $40,000 car was one of those new Dodge Challengers (or an old one for that matter) I would side with the guy. 🙂

  97. I was just talking about hitting a thread before the Che crowd got to it.

    That’s mostly impossible, Guy, unless you are
    A) A blog-troll
    B) Unemployed and unemployable
    C) Nick himself
    D) Other-Nick (Jesse, Matt, Brian, Jacob and the lesser Nicks)

  98. Guy, if the subject is a naked Obama on a unicorn riding to victory at the DNC, no artist in the world could make it better in a meaningful way.

  99. BP,

    If it was naked Michelle Obama then . . .

  100. …it’d be better by an order of magnitude, but still sub- crying clowns or Elvises on black velvet.

  101. not so bad now that i read it over. wsws is saying the same thing as joe: the plan is not enough yet.

    also what i have been saying that it is all corporations getting the money.

  102. Stimulus Money for a Mob Museum. Got a Problem?

    The planned Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a k a “the Mob Museum” on its own Web site, is to include interactive exhibits where visitors can snap their mug shots, stand in police lineups and wiretap one another. Such a center, Mayor Oscar B. Goodman said in an interview Thursday, is “absolutely falling within the four corners of what President-elect Obama is trying to achieve.”

    “This is a project where all the plans are in place and we can start it within 30 days,” said Mr. Goodman, a former criminal defense lawyer who represented several Mafia figures in the 1970s and 1980s.

    I don’t quite know what to say.

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