One Economist's POV: Why Russ Roberts Is Against the Stimulus Plan


Russ Roberts of George Mason University and Cafe Hayek explains why he's against the stimulus package currently working its way through our legislative system like a Super Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity Breakfast eaten way late during a week-long bender:

Rather than spending money we don't have, I wish Obama would use his political capital to change the parts of our political system that are dysfunctional—our entitlement programs that are demographically bankrupt, our broken budget system, our Byzantine tax system, our financial system that is in disarray. These changes would be more likely to create the confidence and trust in the future that our economy needs to get healthy again rather than borrowing and spending. Borrowing and spending is how we got into this mess. Let's look in a different direction.

Whole thing in the Boston Globe here. Among Roberts' points is the simple notion that economists know less than they suppose (or most of us think). That's worth remembering, especially in an age where economists occupy a role similar to that of magicians in King Arthur's court.

One thing that is surprising to me about the Obama position on the stimulus/bailout/infrastructure/"we won" bill is how non-transformative or inspired it is. Here's a guy who everybody believes will bring fundamental change to America and this is the best he can come up with? Spending a ton more money doing virtually exactly the same thing we've been doing (first and foremost, blowing out the federal budget like, well, a Super Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity Breakfast after a week-long bender)? Feh. I want the $19.99 back on the "Change Has Come" Obama Collectable Plate (as seen on TV).

Here's Roberts, back in the fall of 2008 (doesn't that seem like forever ago, when we were young and happy and carefree?) telling Reason.tv where the financial crisis came from and what you need to know about the bailout: