Economics

Nothing to Fear but a Lack of Fear

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President Obama's pro-stimulus op-ed piece, which Matt Welch skewered earlier today, displays the panicky, scare-mongering rhetoric we have come to expect from a politician who entered office less than a month ago with a reputation as a calm, cool, and rational weigher of facts:

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives—action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse….

Every day, our economy gets sicker—and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now….

These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay.

Unless he has unpublicized psychic abilities, Obama doesn't really know what "Americans expect." He is telling us what we should expect, based on his own highly uncertain economic predictions. "This recession might linger for years," or it might not. "Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs," or possibly a different number. Obama hedges his bets by saying "unemployment will approach"—but not necessarily reach—"double digits." That much will be true if unemployment rises at all. As for sinking deeper into a possibly irreversible crisis, I'm not even sure what that means. The economy will never recover? We'll experience our first 100-year recession?

This is some pretty desperate-sounding speculation. Is Obama afraid the economy will never recover, or that it will start to recover before he can plausibly take credit for it? He says he wants—excuse me, we want—"swift, bold, and wise" action. I'm sure he'll settle for two out of three.

There is now an urgent need to read my swift, bold, and wise column about the stimulus plan.

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  1. “Is Obama afraid the economy will never recover, or that it will start to recover before he can plausibly take credit for it?”

    That is indeed part of it but the greater desire of Obama and the rest of the Dems is to use the crisis as a rationalization for implementing the whole spread of socialist goals they have been wanting to do for decades.

    They have to keep up the scare to reinforce the crisis mindset to achieve that.

  2. Obama is a politician. Full Stop.

    He is just laying the groundwork that if his economic package should fail to stimulate the economy, it failed because it was not enacted soon enough, big enough, take-your-pick enough.

  3. Obama hedges his bets by saying “unemployment will approach”-but not necessarily reach-“double digits.”

    The Parsin’ President strikes again.

    You have to weigh every word from this guy. He does, after all, and you should, too.

    Take it from someone else you would be well advised to every word from.

  4. POLITICS OF FEAR

    Carpet bomb the Canadians

  5. that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse….

    I’m sorry, but my understanding of physics leads me to believe that nothing can be reversed. We must press onward, for good or for doom.

  6. Jesus Christ! We’re all going to die!!!!!!!!

  7. I’m reminded again of “Yes, Minister”: “We must do something, this is something, therefore we must do it”.

  8. Carpet bomb the Canadians

    Maybe if Obama would carpet bomb Mexico, LoneNimrod would suddenly like him?

  9. at some point, we may not be able to reverse

    What does this mean? Complete economic collapse. Not only will money become worthless, we will be unable to think the concept of it anymore.

    Indeed, we will lose the concept of numbers, as well, struggling to get by making sense of the world by the mere relative size of things.

    Until, The Blindness strikes. We will pathetically crawl the earth, groping and moaning — our language having devolved until we only have noises to express our pain and frustration.

    Bats the size of beach umbrellas will swoop down and steal our starving babies. At night, the carnivorous mammoths come…

    This, this is what the believers in the so-called “free market” want. Don’t let them steal our Hope and Change(tm).

  10. ACTION IS REQUIRED! WE MUST HAVE SOME ACTION!

  11. action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

    IF we read this as “swift enough,” “bold enough,” and “wise enough” then I think he is saying that Americans expect (i.e., desire, NOT, “predict”) the government to provide an effective response to the crisis that takes the parameter of time into account.

    I don’t think any special psychic powers are required to make a statement like this and feel assured it is the truth.

    I, personally, chuckled when I heard the “never recover” part. Kinda works against RC Dean’s hypothesis that every word is carefully chosen.

  12. Never voted for Obama in the first place/Screeds/”That’s Not Change I Can Believe In”

    Look, folks, it’s not hard. You can’t be disillusioned if you were never, uh, “illusioned” in the first place.

  13. “Maybe if Obama would carpet bomb Mexico, LoneNimrod would suddenly like him?”
    Sounds right. Actually, LoneWhackOff would probably start thinking of him whenever he, well…

  14. So MAX, that’s not disillusionment you can believe in?

  15. Unemployment will approach double digits.

    OMG, 9% unemployment! We’ll become like… like…. FRANCE!!!

  16. Tremble puny commentators before the unveiling of LoneWacko! Chris . . . Kelly . . . I repeat Chris Kelly. Everyone should refer to LoneWacko as . . . Chris Kelly. That is all.

  17. Is there nothing to fear but slanted and/or distorted news?

    When will Reason Hit and Run report on the U.N. admitting that Israel did not hit than UNWRA school in Gaza?

    Will Reason’s Hit and Run report on the media smears against Israel or just continually join the jackals?

  18. This is nothing more than the fruit of an affirmative action president.

    He’s not qualified. He lacks the requisite experience. The world community is slapping the shit out of him. But hey, we need more presidents of color and right now, Obama is the best we can come up with.

    A year from now, he’ll be long gone.

  19. The stimulus bill is everything I hated about the Clinton adminstration — it’s one long collection of targeted gifts to various consituent groups (heavily slanted towards demographics supporting the democratic party).

    Fuck Obama and the Democratic Party!

  20. Civil Discourse,

    I am not sure what your “long gone” is meant to indicate.

    Are you predicting impeachment?
    Assassination?
    Resignation?

    How bad would Obama have to screw up to make his incompetence look worse than what we’ve had for the past 8 years.

    I mean, come on, the Bush administration couldn’t even get the switch to Digital TV to work smoothly.

  21. Neu,

    Nor can Obama. It’s just been put off for 2 more months.

  22. God damn you Underzog! You fuckin’ asshole! Everything’s a fuckin’ travesty with you, man! And what was all that shit about Israel and Gaza? What the FUCK, has anything got to do with Israel and Gaza? What the fuck are you talking about?

  23. Civil Discourse,

    I am not sure what your “long gone” is meant to indicate.

    Me neither, even Jimmy Carter managed to serve a full term.

    And he had the Democratic Congress working against him at every turn.

  24. Neu – “civil discourse” is, if I’m not mistaken, an alternate handle of the white power guy. So probably.

  25. Is Obama afraid the economy will never recover, or that it will start to recover before he can plausibly take credit for it?

    Kind of. What the government is afraid of is that it will recover before they can really sink their hooks into our economy. That’s what they’re afraid of.

  26. “I am not sure what your “long gone” is meant to indicate.

    Are you predicting impeachment?
    Assassination?
    Resignation?”

    Scenarios 1 or 3, 3 being the most likely.

  27. “”civil discourse” is, if I’m not mistaken, an alternate handle of the white power guy”

    You are mistaken.

  28. Okay, different white power guy then. Don’t generally hear the phrase “affirmative action president” outside of Stormfront or the deep south.

  29. Geez, he does need to leave soon. He should get a job at the circus…as a CLOWN.

    I’m talking about you, civil discourse.

  30. On a list that I subscribe to that’s littered with bleeting liberals, the list owner, no dummy, complained that, and I quote “(I) likened tax cuts to spreading money around randomly, with no purpose.”

    Yes, this is the wisdom of Obamanauts. This is what we are up against: intractable stupidity from well-educated people. Only the gubmint can spend your money wisely and non-randomly. Allowing people to spend money as they see fit is dangerous and must be stopped. It’s certainly no basis for a sustainable economy.

  31. A Democratic Congress couldn’t even get BUSH impeached for all his bullshit. I seriously doubt anything will happen to Obama–and the day a politican these days has the balls and integrity to resign is a real day of hope and change.

  32. “Don’t generally hear the phrase “affirmative action president” outside of Stormfront or the deep south.”

    Northern Liberal. Registered Democrat I voted for Hillary Clinton.

    Look, Obama’s simply not qualified. He proves that the media is the message. If he has demonstrated anything consistently since the inaugural, it’s that he is totally in over his head. And it’s just going to get worse.

    Appeasing Iran
    Nominating tax cheats for higher office
    Alienating the press
    An uneeded trillion dollar “stimulus” package

    I’ve seen what happens to people who are promoted because of corporate diversity needs as opposed to their ability and experience. They tend to fail big.

  33. I, personally, chuckled when I heard the “never recover” part. Kinda works against RC Dean’s hypothesis that every word is carefully chosen.

    I might agree with you, but I suspect that this part of Obama is laying the groundwork for dodging blame if the recession drags on.

  34. “and the day a politican these days has the balls and integrity to resign is a real day of hope and change.”

    Thanks!

  35. Oh yes, Hillary “I got by on the coattails of my husband” Clinton would have been a fantastic president. I’m sure she would have had nothing to do with rewarding any generous corporate sponsors. As if the stimulus package wouldn’t have gotten by on her watch. Not to mention an unnecessary nationalized health care system.

    (SLD: I voted for Barr.)

  36. Mr. Nixon, I respect your integrity to resign. It’s all because of Goldwater, I know, but really, you should have done some time too. What’s knowing you did something very wrong without getting punished for it?

  37. Civil – You’re a “northern liberal” who uses the phrase “appeasing Iran.” No. It’s obvious that whoever you really are, you don’t feel like admitting it.

  38. “Oh yes, Hillary “I got by on the coattails of my husband” ”

    Hillary was a second term US Senator from New York who did more over the last 8 years than vote “present”. Obama is Lonesome Rhodes made flesh.

  39. I’ve seen what happens to people who are promoted because of corporate diversity needs as opposed to their ability and experience.

    Except that Obama won a primary and the presidential election. No one “promoted” him except the voters. Now, I’m not saying they made a good choice (“the only winning move is not to play”), but nobody did some PC promotion with Obama.

  40. Uh, yeah, Obama’s the desperate one here.

    Uh huh.

  41. Republicans cried wolf a lot. The bad thing is, at the end of the story, the wolf actually comes.

    You may not feel it in trust-fund libertarian land, but jobs are disappearing and we’re really in for something bad. Even George W. Bush became a socialist in the end to try to save the economy.

    Obama has a fine line to walk. Scaring people only hurts the economy because it depresses confidence. But not telling the urgent truth means necessary action might not happen since action depends on weak-kneed congressmen afraid for their reelections.

  42. H. Clinton was lucky her husband was president first, rather than her father. Poor, unlucky Caroline Kennedy. Of course, her votes for expanding war operations and entitlement spending are somehow better than just voting present. It’s for the children though, even the ugly ones.

  43. You may not feel it in trust-fund libertarian land

    Is this a joke? I made less than $20000 this year. That still doesn’t entitle me to anyone’s trust fund. The “urgent truth” is that massive government spending hurts the economy, just as massive consumer spending on credit was hurting the economy for the last decade.

  44. Heh, PUMA tears are almost as yummy as neocon tears.

    MAX HATS | February 5, 2009, 2:53pm | #

    Civil – You’re a “northern liberal” who uses the phrase “appeasing Iran.” No. It’s obvious that whoever you really are, you don’t feel like admitting it.

    The term “fake PUMA” is redundant.

  45. “Civil – You’re a “northern liberal” who uses the phrase “appeasing Iran.” No. It’s obvious that whoever you really are, you don’t feel like admitting it.”

    That’s silly. Have fun neatly boxing up the populace!

  46. Those middle-aged women keep boxing up themselves better than anyone else ever could.

  47. I’ll have fun boxing up the populace as soon as I figure out what that means.

  48. The same people who spent the first eight months of 2008 telling me that people who thought we were in a recession were “scaremongering” are using that word again.

    Cue Kevin Bacon: “All is well! All is well!”

  49. As for sinking deeper into a possibly irreversible crisis, I’m not even sure what that means.

    I have no idea what The Chosen One meant when he said it. But I wouldn’t rule out total global economic collapse, all currency to zero, all cities in flames, end of civilization, out of the question. Because when it comes to recovery, WE R DO’N IT RONG

  50. “CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary.”

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/cbo-obama-stimulus-harmful-over-long-haul/

    But if we don’t do it, we will never recover.

  51. “I’ll have fun boxing up the populace as soon as I figure out what that means.”

    Good luck with that.

  52. No one denys that there is a recession. But there is no evidence that this monstrosity will do any good. Further, the bill increases baseline non-defense spending from $380 billion to over $700 billion a year. That means that is it no a “targeted, timely and temporary” bill that Larry Summners is claiming it is.

    If it is such a great idea, why is the administration lying about it and why are they so concerned about getting Republican votes? Just pass the thing without them or make the Republicans fillabuster it and tell the American people how those evil Republicans stopped Obama from saving them. Majorities with good ideas don’t have to negotiate. It is only when majorities are fucking and want to make sure they can avoid blame that they worry about negotiating.

  53. And speaking of Fear Mongering:

    Steven Chu, our new Secretary of Energy, tries to spook the public:

    “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.” And, he added, “I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going” either.

  54. I’m a lifelong member of the Democrat Party! I swear!

  55. Fun Fact:

    Northern liberal Hillary Clinton supports are often skeptical of global warming.

  56. There really is no evidence the bill will solve the crisis. It’s really just a crapshoot experiment in Keynesianism. But what we don’t need is more dishonesty, such as saying that government spending doesn’t create jobs or economic growth.

    Obama wanted Republican votes to share the burden of blame, obviously. Republicans’ best political option is to vote no. Their constituents prefer it, and they get to say I told you so if the economy continues to tank.

    However pathetic it is that Republicans care more about reelection than their country; however disheartening that Republicans actually might be hoping that the country continues to slide into the abyss for their own selfish political purposes, it’s certainly not surprising. And they are entitled to believe it won’t work. But their rants against it come with so much dishonesty that the only plausible explanation is naked politics.

  57. The lemmings are headed to the hills . . . .

  58. John | February 5, 2009, 3:13pm | #

    No one denys that there is a recession.…anymore. They used to. They also seem to have given up on denying that this is “the worse economy since the Great Depression,” which used to be the standard for “scare-mongering.” I’m betting it will be less than six months before they give on denying this an economic catastrophe altogether.

    But there is no evidence that this monstrosity will do any good. Then argue against the plan. Pretending the economy isn’t that bad, whining when people say it is, is just idiotic.

    BTW, job losses jumped from over 500,000 per month to over 600,000 per month.

    “Tis but a scratch.”

    “A scratch? Your arm’s off!”

    “No it isn’t.”

    “Look!”

  59. Civil Discourse, are you now or have you ever been phalkor?

  60. “Uncivil Discourse | February 5, 2009, 3:17pm | #

    I’m a lifelong member of the Democrat Party! I swear!”

    “MAX HATS | February 5, 2009, 3:19pm | #

    Fun Fact:

    Northern liberal Hillary Clinton supports are often skeptical of global warming.”

    Great ad hominum.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that Obama is not qualified to be president.

    In fact, in none of your responses do I see anything that firmly supports your implied contention that he is.

    All you can say is I’m a white southern racist and Hillary sucks. Oh, and so do her supporters. Pretty weak.

  61. Majorities with good ideas don’t have to negotiate.

    Says the Republican, in between bouts of blaming the Democrats for not being bipartisan enough.

  62. Tony, maybe they oppose it because they think it won’t work.

  63. I’m not contending anything except that you are not what you represent yourself as.

  64. Kicking Hillary Clinton’s ass when she had the whole party machinery behind her, and then getting her to join your cabinet, seems like pretty good evidence that one is up for the job to me.

  65. Obama may not be an empty suit, but he’s done nothing to disprove it yet. Yet another tax cheating nominee today, who also took lobbying money as a member of the House. Not to mention the stimulas disaster in the making. Doubtful he’ll be out before 2012, but it’s extremely doubtful voters will make the same mistake twice.

  66. Joe,

    Take it up with the CBO above. They are saying the plan won’t do any good and in the long run will hurt the economy. Further, lets look at the plan

    1. $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts

    2. $380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program

    3. $300 million for grants to combat violence against women

    4. $2 billion for federal child care block grants

    5. $6 billion for university building projects

    6. $15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships

    7. $4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion to provide “youth” summer jobs for people up to the age of 24

    8. $1 billion for community development block grants

    9. $4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”

    10. $650 million for digital TV coupons, including $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”

    POORLY DESIGNED TAX RELIEF:

    11. $15 billion for business-loss carry-backs

    12. $145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits

    13. $83 billion for the earned income credit

    STIMULUS FOR THE GOVERNMENT:

    14. $150 million for the Smithsonian

    15. $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters

    16. $500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities

    17. $44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters

    18. $350 million for Agriculture Department computers

    19. $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building next year

    20. $448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters

    21. $600 million to convert federal auto fleet to hybrids

    22. $450 million for National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    23. $600 million for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    24. $1 billion for the Census Bureau

    INCOME TRANSFERS:

    25. $89 billion for Medicaid

    26. $30 billion for COBRA insurance extension

    27. $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits

    28. $20 billion for food stamps

    PURE PORK:

    29. $4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    30. $850 million for Amtrak

    31. $87 million for a polar icebreaking ship

    32. $1.7 billion for the National Park System

    33. $55 million for Historic Preservation Fund

    34. $7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”

    35. $150 million for agricultural commodity purchases

    36. $150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”

    RENEWABLE WASTE:

    37. $2 billion for renewable energy research

    38. $2 billion for a “clean-coal” power plant in Illinois

    39. $6.2 billion shall be for the Weatherization Assistance Program

    40. $3.5 billion shall be for energy efficiency and conservation block grants

    41. $3.4 billion shall be for the State Energy Program

    42. $200 million shall be for state and local electric-transport projects

    43. $300 million shall be for energy-efficient appliance rebate programs

    44. $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments

    45. $1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries

    46. $1.5 billion for green technology loan guarantees

    47. $8 billion for innovative technology loan guarantee program

    48. $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects

    49. $4.5 billion for electricity grid

    REWARDING STATE IRRESPONSIBILITY:

    50. $79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

    If you want to defend that pile of crap go right ahead. But there is a reason why it gets less popular every day. It is because the longer it is around, the more the marks get wise to what a joke it is. That is why Obama is panicing and talking so much shit. The longer this goes on, the more people will realize how bad it is.

  67. They are saying the plan won’t do any good

    If you can produce a CBO report that says the plan won’t do any good, I will be very, very surprised.

  68. Tony, I contend that the party that nominated the good looking, inexperienced twit in a time of crisis just to gain power is the party putting politics ahead of country.

  69. “I’m not contending anything except that you are not what you represent yourself as.”

    Baseless self-comforting drivel.

  70. I see concern troll is concerned.

  71. 51 – Duluth, MN is asking for nearly half a billion dollars.

  72. James Ard,

    I was a Hillary supporter in the beginning and very skeptical of Obama, but I’ll take any Democrat over any Republican first. And second, I’ll take a magna cum laude Harvard graduate who was able to get himself elected president despite his relative inexperience in politics over another plutocratic moron like Bush or McCain any day.

  73. “If you can produce a CBO report that says the plan won’t do any good, I will be very, very surprised.”

    Unless the Washington Times is making it up, prepare to be very very surprised.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/cbo-obama-stimulus-harmful-over-long-haul/

  74. “Kicking Hillary Clinton’s ass when she had the whole party machinery behind her, and then getting her to join your cabinet, seems like pretty good evidence that one is up for the job to me.”

    In the primaries, he disparaged Hillary’s positions. Then in the general election, he adopted them.

  75. John,

    They are saying the plan won’t do any good and in the long run will hurt the economy. No, they’re not. They’re saying the bill will promote growth in the short term, at a cost over the longer term.

    Why can’t Johnny read?

  76. I’m getting a distinct whiff of “national malaise” from the Obama administration. That approach worked so well the first time it was tried…

  77. But there is a reason why it gets less popular every day.

    Oh, don’t you worry. Obama stopped letting the Republicans monopolize the press today.

    BTW, has anyone else noticed that the opponents keep saying “getting less popular,” but never provide figures, or say it is unpopular?

    Gee, why do you think that might be?

  78. from the second paragraph:

    BO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

    Harmful over the long haul does not mean it will do no good. The idea behind the stimulus is balancing short term gain with long term drag.

  79. “They are saying the plan won’t do any good and in the long run will hurt the economy. No, they’re not. They’re saying the bill will promote growth in the short term, at a cost over the longer term.”

    Oh so that makes it a good idea? Joe you always start throwing out insults when you know you are wrong.

    If you are so concerned about the effects of the current economy fine, why not just expand unemployment insurance and help to those who are being hurt by the downturn? You could do that for 1/4 of the price and not any of the long term effects? Oh I know because that wouldn’t allow Democrats to steal as much and might actually help someone who is not politically connected.

    Cue Joe for a personal insulting rant directed at me.

  80. In the primaries, he disparaged Hillary’s positions. Then in the general election, he adopted them.

    And Karl Rove said John McCain fathered a black child out of wedlock. Politicians try to win. Anyone who can beat the Clintons gives me hope that he can beat the Republican noise machine and actually accomplish something for this country.

  81. John realizes his entire thesis is shot. He just plumb got the story wrong. Does this change his opinion or argument in the slightest?

    What do you think?

  82. BTW, has anyone else noticed that the opponents keep saying “getting less popular,” but never provide figures, or say it is unpopular?

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/business/economic_stimulus_package/support_for_stimulus_package_falls_to_37

    Support for Stimulus Package Falls to 37%

    shove it up your ass Joe.

  83. If you are so concerned about the effects of the current economy fine, why not just expand unemployment insurance and help to those who are being hurt by the downturn? You could do that for 1/4 of the price and not any of the long term effects?

    John, you put that very proposal in your list of “waste” in the stimulus bill.

    27. $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits

  84. Joe you always start throwing out insults when you know you are wrong. ..The CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term

    There I go, being wrong again.

    Come on, John, just admit it. You got the story wrong, and now you’re whining at me for being a mean person.

    Ha ha. Why would I discuss economic policy with someone who’s too slow to read the Washington times, and too dishonest to admit that he’s wrong?

  85. “John realizes his entire thesis is shot. He just plumb got the story wrong. Does this change his opinion or argument in the slightest?”

    What are you tallking about? Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on things that won’t directly affect the economy or incentives to produce or even help out those out of work is a terrible idea. The bill as it stands is completely indefensible. It is not even a Keynesian stimulus. It is just the Congress and interest groups using the recession to loot the treasury. Even the CBO admits that it will be harmful in the long run. What exactly are the bills merits beyond, Obama told you to like it?

  86. “27. $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits”

    Fine, keep that and get rid of the rest.

  87. Nice cherry-pick, John. Reminds me of when you got so hot under the collar about that single Zogby poll last August. Will you never learn?

    http://www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm

  88. Who in their right mind EVER gets excited about a Zogby poll?

  89. Joe,

    If you print a trillion dollars and drop it out of airplanes, that would in the short term stimulate the economy. It would, however be an incredibly bad idea. There are any number of ways to stimulate the economy in the short run that do not involve the long term debt and hit to the economy that this bill does.

    You prove on here over and over that you are utterly incapbable of thinking for yourself or criticizing Democrats. Of course you think it is a good idea. There is nothing Democrats have ever done that you wouldn’t. You are endorsing trading away the government’s long term credit worthiness and growth potential of the economy for a short term theft scheme for Democratic interests. I would call you immoral, but frankly you don’t know enough to be immoral. Immorality implies a choice and clearly when it comes to supporting whatever the Dems want to do, you don’t have much of a choice.

  90. John, you put that very proposal in your list of “waste” in the stimulus bill.

    OOF! This is like when the crowd at a boxing match goes silent for a moment, after a really stiff right connects.

    What are you tallking about?

    I’m talking about this, Einstein:

    John | February 5, 2009, 3:27pm | #

    Joe,

    Take it up with the CBO above. They are saying the plan won’t do any good

    followed by:

    MAX HATS | February 5, 2009, 3:38pm | #

    from the second paragraph:

    BO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term

    Thanks for the opportunity to write that again. Awesome.

    Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on things that won’t directly affect the economy… YOUR OWN LINK, the one you thought backed you up, the one written by the Moonie Times, SAYS EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE.

    Stop the fight, ref!

  91. BDB,

    I don’t know who pays attention to Zogby, But Rasmussen is generally well respected and the ones who are reporting on the falling support for the national debt aquisition and future geneneration theft bill.

  92. Who in their right mind EVER gets excited about a Zogby poll?

    Well, see, you go and put conditions on it like that…

    You prove on here over and over that you are utterly incapbable of thinking for yourself or criticizing Democrats. Wah wah wah, joe is teh mean partisan.

    Get back to me when you learn to read.

  93. You’re right, Rasmussen is good. They generally got the election right (maybe a tad bit Republican leaning but not much).

  94. Gallup has it 50-37 in favor. Gallup did a lot better than Rasmussen this cycle.

  95. “They’re saying the bill will promote growth in the short term, at a cost over the longer term.

    Why can’t Johnny read?”

    Perhaps he can.

    Thus spake Obama:

    “This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending–it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education.”

  96. Again Joe, you could throw money out of airplanes and “stimulate”. Further, whatever “stimulation” short term the bill achieved could be achieved at a much lower cost over the long hall. Why on earth support a bill that is bad in the long run? Stop being a jackass and at least try to have a serious conversation rather than act like a four year old. There other people who would like to post on here I am sure and your ravings and my poking you get awfully old.

  97. “joe | February 5, 2009, 3:53pm | #
    Gallup has it 50-37 in favor. Gallup did a lot better than Rasmussen this cycle.”

    Actually, they didn’t. The final Gallup poll had Obama +11. He didn’t even come close to that. Their silly “cell phone effect” formula padded it for the Dems.

    Look:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/us/general_election_mccain_vs_obama-225.html

    The final Rasmussen was O + 6, almost right on the nose.

  98. Nice quote civil discourse.

  99. Fine, keep that and get rid of the rest.

    Considering, you might want to read through the rest. Many didn’t seem wasteful to me at all. Granted, I’m a liberal, but many of those listed were infrastructure improvements, which I thought had bipartisan support. And if you are okay with the extension of unemployment, why would you have a problem with assisting COBRA or Food Stamps?

  100. Liberals tend to slam Rasmussen cause its the official pollster of Fox News and their founder is an evangelical conservative, but they’re good with their numbers regardless.

  101. If the bill were anything but unpopular it would have been passed already. It is wildly unpopular with everyone but interests groups. That is why the Senate’s nuts are in a vice. If they pass it, they look like shit. If they don’t, they have to answer to the interest groups who put them in office. Their only way out is to buy off some Republicans and call the mess “bi-partisian”.

  102. “And if you are okay with the extension of unemployment, why would you have a problem with assisting COBRA or Food Stamps?”

    I wouldn’t. But you could do that for a few hundred Billion if that. I would not object to a plan that had real incentive creating tax cuts and real money to help people who are affected by the downturn and that was temporary and not a perminent raise in spending. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is throwing money at infrastructure programs that won’t turn a shovel of earth for years and money at every interest group’s pet projects and worse still raising the baseline of spending perminently.

  103. I wouldn’t.

    But those were also on your list.

    26. $30 billion for COBRA insurance extension

    27. $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits

    28. $20 billion for food stamps

    What I am getting at is, I don’t think that list is very good, and I don’t think you read through it.

  104. True Max, they were. I would say two things. The debate is about whether the bill will stimulate the economy. While those measures are humane and admirable, they really won’t do much to stimulate the economy. They are basically like dropping money from airplanes. Second, those increases are perminent not temporary. That is one of the biggest problems with this bill. It is not a temperory emergency measure. It is a perminant rise in spending.

  105. I’m sorry, that’s 52-37 in favor.

    Is it safe to say that the anti-recovery people have decided to completely change the subject, and are no longer discussing the President’s description of the economy as “scare-mongering?”

    Civil Discourse,

    “This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending–it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education.” The CBO doesn’t use “dynamic scoring” that takes into account the consequences of policy changes, beyond fiscal policy, on the economy.

    John | February 5, 2009, 3:55pm | #

    Again Joe, you could throw money out of airplanes and “stimulate”. If this is such an obvious point, why were you insisting on the opposite above?

    Why on earth support a bill that is bad in the long run? Because it won’t be bad in the long run. The CBO is just looking purely at fiscal effects.

    Stop being a jackass… I’m sorry, who was it that decided to introduce the concept of ass-shoving-up on to the thread?

  106. “Stop the fight, ref!”

    Why is it a fight to you, Joe. Really, what is wrong with you? Why are you so confrontational. What are you afraid of?

  107. BDB,

    I’m sure that Rasmussen will, as if by magic, get their “final” numbers to be close on this, too. As they always do, as if by magic. A closer comparison would be to look at their tracking during the campaign, which turned out to be considerably more favorable to McCain.

    If the bill were anything but unpopular it would have been passed already. It was taken up by the Senate yesterday. Good Lord, do you know anything about this topic beyond what you wish to be true?

    That is why the Senate’s nuts are in a vice. Actually, Obama and Reid are pushing for a vote tomorrow. They seem to think they have the votes.

    What doesn’t make sense is throwing money at infrastructure programs that won’t turn a shovel of earth for years and money at every interest group’s pet projects and worse still raising the baseline of spending perminently. They could have done a better job making some of the infrastructure funding more immediate, I’ll grant you that. I’d like to see a bunch of it moved from capital projects to operations.

  108. While those measures are humane and admirable, they really won’t do much to stimulate the economy.

    Are you saying people don’t spend money from unemployment, or that they don’t spend food stamps? The idea is that all money that gets thrown put into someones hands or gets assigned to a project goes into the economy.

  109. “Nice quote civil discourse.”

    Well, given that I am a bigoted, southern white supremist posing as a northern Liberal (because a Liberal coud never utter the words “appease Iran”) you might want to consider retracting your approbation.

  110. John | February 5, 2009, 3:50pm | #

    Joe,

    If you print a trillion dollars and drop it out of airplanes, that would in the short term stimulate the economy…

    John | February 5, 2009, 4:04pm | #

    True Max, they were. I would say two things. The debate is about whether the bill will stimulate the economy. While those measures are humane and admirable, they really won’t do much to stimulate the economy. They are basically like dropping money from airplanes.

    So…which is it?

    (Psst – you were right the first time. Airplane money, or smart-bomb money like COBRA and unemployment insurance, stimulate purchasing by people who wouldn’t have any money to spend.)

  111. Grist,

    Why, exactly, is “Stop the fight, ref?” worthy of your illustrious attention, but “Shove it up your ass, joe,” beneath your notice?

    Actually, don’t answer. I don’t really care.

  112. Joe–

    I won’t deny they have a Republican lean, they do, but not an outrageous one.

    Re: the final numbers thing, they’re a bit guilty in that department too but only by a little bit (1-2 points).

    That stupid Investor Business Daily poll is WAY more guilty of both those things. Remember how they’re always accurate in the end, but had McCain only down by 1 at Halloween? Then all of a sudden, a day before the election, Obama +5! Lol.

  113. Civil discourse:

    I would love to hear why you preferred Hillary Clinton over John McCain.

  114. Man, there’s gotta be a better measure than “better than the IBD poll.”

    Anyway, I’d say this is more like a mid-race poll than a final poll.

  115. Max,

    They do, but it is of limited long term value to the economy. Handing out money is not going to get the economy going. If it did, we wouldn’t be in the shape we are in now. But, more importantly, doing those things is only a small part of the stimulus bill. As I said, if you want to spend a hundred billion in a temporary measure helping the unemployed and a few hundred billion cutting marginal tax rates, you have my vote. It is spending $800 billion on a perminent basis that I have an objeciton to.

    Joe,

    Since civil discourse and Max and BDB are here, there is really no reason for you to be. Let the big kids talk now and go find something else to do.

  116. “Why, exactly, is “Stop the fight, ref?” worthy of your illustrious attention, but “Shove it up your ass, joe,” beneath your notice?”

    Because John’s remarks like that are rare. Yours, ever present.

    “Actually, don’t answer. I don’t really care.”

    Great preemption! Too bad it didn’t work.

  117. Well, Obama has done a piss poor job at selling it so far. The Republicans have dominated the narrative, very unlike the campaign which is not what I expected.

  118. Here is the thing: the list you posted is considered the most objectionable stuff in the bill, and already you’ve conceded many of those (the worst of the worst provisions) are actually good ideas. I’m curious where all these hundreds of billions of terrible waste are, and why I’m not seeing email forwards about that, rather than items like “2 billion on clean coal power plant” that I would figure most people would be for.

  119. joe,

    Airplane money, or smart-bomb money like COBRA and unemployment insurance, stimulate purchasing by people who wouldn’t have any money to spend.

    Well, many and probably most would actually have money to spend; either from their savings, from charity, etc. Indeed, because so much of that goes on in the economy a lot of the people who gets funds that way are likely to try to firm up their balance by paying down debt. So before you could make such a claim you’d have to take these facts into consideration.

    _______________________________________

    During the 1960s and 1970s a lot of nations tried to jump start their economies by massive amounts of government spending. Those experiments failed, and failed badly. Government spending has proven to be a failed policy in the development of an economy, and that should tell us something about its power to “rescue” an economy.

  120. He could get the Republicans to go along with some TRUE infrastructure spending. But as long as crap like the National Endowment for the Arts, “community development” (whatever that means) and NASA (really, NASA?) are in there, this bill is crap and will not pass.

  121. “rather than items like “2 billion on clean coal power plant” that I would figure most people would be for.”

    I thought liberals didn’t believe in clean coal? Or is that just a sop to Appalachian Dems?

  122. “During the 1960s and 1970s a lot of nations tried to jump start their economies by massive amounts of government spending. Those experiments failed, and failed badly.”

    Don’t forget Japan in the 90s, Seward. They have debt approaching 100% of their GDP and precious little to show for it today.

  123. Environmentalists are against it, but I don’t think anyone has a ready made alternative to coal.

  124. “I would love to hear why you preferred Hillary Clinton over John McCain.”

    McCain is a doddering idiot. That whole “I am suspending my campaign” thing was the epitome of stupid. Same with ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran…” And if I had a penny for every time he said “My friends…” I could cover the cost of the stimulus package all on my own. And still have plenty left for hookers and booze.

  125. Max Hats,

    Are there a bunch of very precisely defined recipients in the spending that is proposed? I suspect that there are. If so, that is where you will most likely find the pork. By definition spending on such projects is suspect because it is where the bootleggers like to hang out; where public choice theory is most keen in its insights.

  126. Remember how they’re always accurate in the end, but had McCain only down by 1 at Halloween? Then all of a sudden, a day before the election, Obama +5! Lol.

    How can you remember all of this stuff?

    Since civil discourse and Max and BDB are here, there is really no reason for you to be. Let the big kids talk now and go find something else to do. You started with me, punk. Second thoughts?

  127. “I’m curious where all these hundreds of billions of terrible waste are”

    Right here:

    http://www.stimuluswatch.org/

  128. “How can you remember all of this stuff?”

    I didn’t, I checked the RCP poll archive, and the IBD number was so ridiculous I remembered all the screaming from Republicans over it.

  129. “You started with me, punk. Second thoughts?”

    Geeze! What an a-hole!

  130. Who in their right mind EVER gets excited about a Zogby poll?

    [raises hand]

  131. BDB | February 5, 2009, 4:19pm | #

    Well, Obama has done a piss poor job at selling it so far. The Republicans have dominated the narrative, very unlike the campaign which is not what I expected.

    I agree, though I think today is going to mark a turning point. He’s actually making an effort to sell it, with interviews and speeches, which he inexplicably failed to do so far. I’ll just note that the people opposed to the stimulus are motivated to decry how terrible and unfair he’s being.

    Seward,

    Well, many and probably most would actually have money to spend; either from their savings, from charity, etc. Indeed, because so much of that goes on in the economy a lot of the people who gets funds that way are likely to try to firm up their balance by paying down debt. Actually, the research on this indicates otherwise. The more targeted money is towards lower income people, the more likely they are to spend it. The more targeted towards upper income people, the more likely they are to save or invest it.

    During the 1960s and 1970s a lot of nations tried to jump start their economies by massive amounts of government spending. Those experiments failed, and failed badly. Government spending has proven to be a failed policy in the development of an economy, and that should tell us something about its power to “rescue” an economy. Does not follow. Spending as a long-term economic development strategy is a different beast from spending as a short-term stimulus effort.

  132. If you guys could do me a big favor and pop on over to this project and cast votes against it, I would appreciate it. (Note: it’s 130mil for 150(!) jobs!)

    Anyway, that site is irritating me because a bunch of the “most critical projects” just happen to be in Cincinnati, which is highly suspicious.

  133. From http://www.stimuluswatch.org/ (page 1):

    $375,000,000 for a Las Vegas Performing Arts Center – Construct a new Performing Arts Center within the City’s Union Park Development. Las Vegas NV $375,000,000

  134. BDB,

    Obama has been pro-“clean coal” since the primaries. Whether he adopted this position as a sop to Appalachia or not, it’s not something he’s doing to get this bill passed.

    Grist | February 5, 2009, 4:30pm | #

    “You started with me, punk. Second thoughts?”

    Geeze! What an a-hole!

    LOL, I was actually told to shove something up my ass, and nothing. I am told to shut up and let the adults talk, and nothing. But THIS – my goodness, this cannot be allowed to stand!

    Grist funny. Me likey.

  135. $375,000,000 for a Las Vegas Performing Arts Center – Construct a new Performing Arts Center within the City’s Union Park Development. Las Vegas NV $375,000,000

    Construction is one of the most effective stimulatory strategies – it takes a lot of labor to build things.

    You’re not even trying to argue that the proposals aren’t stimulus anymore.

  136. “which he inexplicably failed to do so far”

    No, it’s easy to explain. America has elected its first affirmative action president. He is not qualified. He lacks the requisite leadership skills. Never had ’em, never will.

  137. Its all in the emphasis:

    BO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

    Dunno about you, but I read that to mean “more harm than good.”

  138. “Grist funny. Me likey.”

    As I said, ever present.

  139. joe,

    Actually, the research on this indicates otherwise.

    What research?

    Spending as a long-term economic development strategy…

    Actually, the spending was supposed to provide a short-term boost that would lift these economies out of their doldrums. The literature on the subject is rather clear on that matter; centralized planning was meant to spur quick take offs in the private sector.

    …is a different beast from spending as a short-term stimulus effort.

    Actually it does follow. There is no such thing as short-term government spending. Government spending over time beats the rate of inflation and constantly expands. This is true trans-nationally.

  140. Obama has been pro-“clean coal” since the primaries. Whether he adopted this position as a sop to Appalachia or not,

    He did it as a sop to downstate Illinois coal; it’s a position he’s had IIRC, since running for the US Senate.

    Obama didn’t do very much pandering to appalachia, which was probably wise, as he was politically obliterated there every stage of the process.

  141. “Construction is one of the most effective stimulatory strategies – it takes a lot of labor to build things.

    You’re not even trying to argue that the proposals aren’t stimulus anymore.”

    Right, because Vegas needs yet another performance venue.

  142. Construction is one of the most effective stimulatory strategies – it takes a lot of labor to build things.

    Wouldn’t the most effective stimulus be to hand out gift cards? Seriously, you have to spend them at a particular store, so you cannot save them. Hand out gift cards with an expiration date within 90 days.

    Cash is stimulatory; everything else is just busywork.

  143. $375,000,000 for a Las Vegas Performing Arts Center – Construct a new Performing Arts Center within the City’s Union Park Development. Las Vegas NV $375,000,000

    Construction is one of the most effective stimulatory strategies – it takes a lot of labor to build things.

    You’re not even trying to argue that the proposals aren’t stimulus anymore.

    Because god knows there aren’t enough places in Vegas to see a show.

    The Nevada economy is addicted to construction; this ain’t even giving them methadone, this is giving them more smack.

  144. joe,

    Let me get this straight; Las Vegas needs another venue when fewer people are venturing to Las Vegas to gamble, etc. And the taxpayers need to pay for it no less.

    I guess in one that sounds stimulative, in other it is rather a waste of resources.

  145. If you think about it, Obama’s just continuing the policies of the Bush administration.

    Lower taxes and spend more while funnelling money borrowed from China to your supporters.

    The only difference is that instead of Halliburton, the money is going to labor unions and “green energy” companies.

  146. “Green” snake oil will be the next bubble.

    In 2019 people will make jokes about plug-in hybrids and wind farms the way we joke about Pets.com now.

  147. joe,

    I would note that you would get roughly the same “stimulative effect” – I’ll call it waste – if one were have a lot of people move to the coast, have them build nice homes and then paid some of them to dig sand off the beach and paid others take that sand and put it back on the beach.

  148. The Angry Optimist, Kolohe, and Seward

    And that was just on page one!

    Again, here is the link (it’s simply amazing!):

    From http://www.stimuluswatch.org/

  149. Joe is actually a young boy around middle school age. I don’t know why he won’t admit it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of and he’s a damned smart twelve or thirteen year old – downright precocious, in fact. I wish more young people shared his passion for politics and world affairs. He’s obviously read a great deal and his parents are probably very involved in his education.

    Grown men, of course, don’t say things like “Heh, PUMA tears are almost as yummy as neocon tears”, nor do they think anyone’s impressed by a guy who acts like online political debate is some kind of cage fighting event.

    I am concerned, though, with the amount of time joe spends online. It can’t be good for his grades.

  150. Let me get this straight; Las Vegas needs another venue when fewer people are venturing to Las Vegas to gamble, etc. And the taxpayers need to pay for it no less.

    Seward beat me to it. Vegas is on the decline. But more generally, this is in the same category as taxpayer-funded sports arenas; team owners don’t want to pay for the construction themselves because they tend to lose value. And why pick up the tab when you can have the taxpayer take care of it?

  151. BDB | February 5, 2009, 4:19pm | #
    Well, Obama has done a piss poor job at selling it so far. The Republicans have dominated the narrative, very unlike the campaign which is not what I expected.

    Great PR guys make lousy executives? Pretty much axiomatic. Even Clinton was lousy at it for most of his first term, improved immensely once the trouble makers in his own party were dispensed with in the 94 elections. Obama may be adaptive enough to grow. We’ll see.

  152. Seward,

    Have you ever noticed that you make a lot of unsupported, general, conceptual points, and then demand citations whenever anyone else does so?

    Anyway, a little googling for “multiplier effect” would take you where you want to go.

    The literature on the subject is rather clear on that matter; centralized planning was meant to spur quick take offs in the private sector. Now you’re talking about central planning? Because a minute ago, you were talking about spending.

    There is no such thing as short-term government spending. Government spending over time beats the rate of inflation and constantly expands. This is true trans-nationally. And another shift of the goal-posts, from talking about the effects of short-term spending to insisting that it doesn’t exist.

  153. “I don’t know why he won’t admit it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of and he’s a damned smart twelve or thirteen year old – downright precocious”

    I think fifteen is more like it. And for fifteen, not so smart.

  154. Civil Discourse, Seward,

    Are you aware the “Is it stimulus?” and “Is this construction project needed?” are two different questions? Like I said, you aren’t even trying to argue that it’s not stimulatory anymore.

    Wouldn’t the most effective stimulus be to hand out gift cards? Yes. In this case, however, there is an effort being made to get something in return for the money spent, as opposed to “digging holes and filling them in.”

    Concern Stubby is concerned. Yawn. Still, good to see such interest in talking about me. Economic policy is so dull!

  155. I swear joe has the largest hatedom of any blog commentator I’ve ever seen.

  156. Grist | February 5, 2009, 4:55pm | #

    “I don’t know why he won’t admit it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of and he’s a damned smart twelve or thirteen year old – downright precocious”

    I think fifteen is more like it. And for fifteen, not so smart.

    This, of course, is someone who ventured onto the thread for the purpose of saying how objectionable he finds personal insults.

    Still, at least he’s talking about me. We all know how important it is to talk about me.

  157. BDB | February 5, 2009, 4:57pm | #

    I swear joe has the largest hatedom of any blog commentator I’ve ever seen.

    Yankees fans used to boo the shit out of Ted Williams.

    But not Denny Doyle.

  158. joe,

    Have you ever noticed that you make a lot of unsupported, general, conceptual points, and then demand citations whenever anyone else does so?

    No, but I have noticed this behavior from you. Oh, and when asked for a citation I more than readily give it.

    Anyway, a little googling for “multiplier effect” would take you where you want to go.

    A little searching for it will tell you that the record of the stimulative effects of such spending mixed and there is significant disagreement within the field of economics over what is and is not proper stimulus, whether there is any net stimulus, etc.

    Now you’re talking about central planning? Because a minute ago, you were talking about spending.

    Centralized planning is exactly what Keynesian stimulus spending is. Now it isn’t as totalistic as what was done in the Soviet Union with five year plans and the like, but that is what it is. We will spend money here, here and here, and this will “create” this many jobs here, here and here. It is also as backward looking as centralized planning always is; just like Keynes was trying to create the “perfect” world prior to WWI (that is nearly a direct quote I must add) so the current stimulus package is trying to re-create the economic world prior to 2006.

    And another shift of the goal-posts, from talking about the effects of short-term spending to insisting that it doesn’t exist.

    Well, I never claimed that it was something that did exist; so I am not quite sure where I shifted the goal posts. Indeed, I’ve been rather consistent in my claim that short term spending leads to long term spending because short term spending creates vested interests who wield political power. So if I shifted any goal posts it must happened prior to this coversation.

  159. joe, I have to admit that your detractors got you on the “Vegas not needing another performance platform” thing.

    Gift cards! The TAO stimulus plan.

  160. joe,

    Are you aware the “Is it stimulus?” and “Is this construction project needed?” are two different questions?

    Actually, they seem to be two sides of the same coin to me. Fundamentally make work projects can’t possibly be stimulative for fundamentally sound economic reasons that ought to be rather obvious.

  161. When analysis shows that infrastructure spending has an increased multiplier effect, it normally presuposes that the bulk of it is in stuff like transportation and utlities (either building new stuff or making existing stuff better). Building a structure in a location where there are many structures of the same type would give the stimulus of military spending – not zero (more precisely, not < 1.0), but not the best either.

  162. No, but I have noticed this behavior from you. You seem to have me confused with someone else. I very rarely ask for citations.

    A little searching for it will tell you that the record of the stimulative effects of such spending mixed and there is significant disagreement within the field of economics over what is and is not proper stimulus, whether there is any net stimulus, etc. So, you DON’T actually want to know about how construction stacks up against other forms of spending in its stimulatory effect. OK, then don’t ask me about it.

    Centralized planning is exactly what Keynesian stimulus spending is. Not necessarily. A big tax holiday can be used as Keynesian stimulus. Spending on purely public projects, like repairing roads, too. Neither of those can be fairly characterized as “central planning” as the term is commonly used.

    just like Keynes was trying to create the “perfect” world prior to WWI (that is nearly a direct quote I must add) so the current stimulus package is trying to re-create the economic world prior to 2006. I don’t think that’s true. There would be much more devoted to propping up housing prices, for example.

  163. Who cares whether the CBO says the plan will stimulate the economy or not?

    There are no more of an expert on the validity of Keynesian economic theory than Krugman – which is to say not at all.

    Every dollar the government spends is a dollar it has taxed, borrowed or inflated away from someone else. The government spending or “investng” (as the politicians like to call it) it on something doesn’t do anything more than if it had alternativly been spent or invested by whoever had it before the government yanked it out of his hand.

  164. TAO,

    joe, I have to admit that your detractors got you on the “Vegas not needing another performance platform” thing. Why? I never wrote anything one way or the other about the subject of whether Vegas needed another performance arena; I just noted that construction is, in fact, stimulatory. But if you say so.

    Seward,

    Actually, they seem to be two sides of the same coin to me. Fundamentally make work projects can’t possibly be stimulative for fundamentally sound economic reasons that ought to be rather obvious. Wow. Just for shits and giggles, would you mind giving me the definition of “stimulus” as you understand it?

  165. Yeah! The CBO doesn’t know any more about economics than the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

    You tell ’em, Gil!

  166. The people who hand out Nobel Prizes don’t know anything about it either.

  167. Check this out.

    Talk about inflation!!

    Stimulus of any size or strategy = preemtive FAIL.

  168. From http://www.stimuluswatch.org/ (page 1):

    $375,000,000 for a Las Vegas Performing Arts Center – Construct a new Performing Arts Center within the City’s Union Park Development. Las Vegas NV $375,000,000

    I actually happen to know a bit about that project, being that my old boss in the management there. According to what he has told me, a majority of the center is already paid for by a private foundation and private giving. The city is donating a sizable chunk with infrastructure and there is a taxi tax dedicated to the project.

    SLD: I don’t agree with the the tax and city funding, but in no way is this $375 million coming from the Feds unless something has changed in the past few weeks.

  169. Wouldn’t the most effective stimulus be to hand out gift cards? Seriously, you have to spend them at a particular store, so you cannot save them. Hand out gift cards with an expiration date within 90 days.

    Cash is stimulatory; everything else is just busywork.

    Yeah because getting Americans to buy more Chinese products will do wonders for our economy.

    Not at all like that “busywork” of repairing a crumbling infrastructure and bringing the country into the 21st century. Might as well ask workers to doodle all day long.

    Of course you obviously favor neither idea, otherwise having a libertarian defend government handouts over fair pay for honest, useful work would be silly.

  170. I knew Ted Williams. I worked for Ted Williams. I kept Ted Williams’ head cool.

    And you, sir, are no Ted Williams.

  171. joe,

    So, you DON’T actually want to know about how construction stacks up against other forms of spending in its stimulatory effect. OK, then don’t ask me about it.

    Actually, I was curious what you’d bring to the table on the matter; because there isn’t a clear consensus on the matter. That is the point I was going to get to.

    Not necessarily. A big tax holiday can be used as Keynesian stimulus.

    That is still a form of planning. Indeed, such efforts, while not effective, are always justified with the X number of jobs they’re supposed to produce, etc. Furthermore, in the real world, a tax holiday will always come with all manner of loopholes, caveats, etc. just like the current tax system, trying to nudge the economy this or that way. You see these sorts of things in state sales tax holidays, BTW. So a real world tax holiday is pretty clearly a form of centralized planning.

    Spending on purely public projects, like repairing roads, too.

    Public projects like that actually one of the purer forms of centralized planning actually; indeed, that’s part of the reason why cities, counties and states bid for such stuff – so they can “plan” where the growth will be, etc.

    I don’t think that’s true. There would be much more devoted to propping up housing prices, for example.

    What, two trillion wasn’t enough? Gee, how much has the Fed tried to keep housing prices from sliding over the past two years? How much have we tried to save commercial banks which should have been orderly liquidated? Indeed, how much rhetoric do we hear about keeping people in their homes, etc.? Indeed, that the TARP was applied to the auto companies in order to save them illustrates how backward looking this process is.

  172. joe,

    Wow. Just for shits and giggles, would you mind giving me the definition of “stimulus” as you understand it?

    Well, at base, I’m just a freshwater sort of guy.

  173. From the Smith Center web page (LV Performing Arts Center):

    Our private funding campaign was launched by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation with a landmark gift of $50 million in 2005, in honor of their chairman, Fred W. Smith, and his wife, Mary. Since then, The Reynolds Foundation has continued their generosity, pledging an additional $100 million challenge grant. This gift is the largest philanthropic donation in state history, and combined with their initial contribution, makes for the second largest donation to the performing arts in the United States.

    Considerable groundwork has already been laid with unique public and private partnerships. The City of Las Vegas has provided the land, infrastructure, and parking for the facility. In addition, the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, and State Legislature collaborated on a car rental fee which will result in a bond of at least $125 million.

    BTW, it’s a $475,000,000 project.

    http://www.lvpacfoundation.org/fact.php

  174. Regarding the link above. That level of debt cannot possibly be paid off. EVER.
    Never the less, that geen line IS coming back down towards earth. $1 trillion stimulus is a purely symbolic “we’re doing something” gesture. It’s like trying to stop an oncoming freight train by shooting spitballs at it. FAIL.

  175. Considering, you might want to read through the rest. Many didn’t seem wasteful to me at all.

    Then they should be considered and voted on separately, on their own merits, and do just fine.

  176. Yeah because getting Americans to buy more Chinese products will do wonders for our economy.

    Do you have a problem with Chinese people, Tony? Are you some kind of bigot?

    Yes, I am being serious.

    bringing the country into the 21st century.

    If America ain’t in the 21st century, no nation is in the 21st century, Chumly.

    Of course you obviously favor neither idea, otherwise having a libertarian defend government handouts over fair pay for honest, useful work would be silly.

    Yo, Tony, T-dizzle, dawg, listen up: If you (and the American people) want an infrastructure bill, write a fucking infrastructure bill. Infrastructure does not belong in a stimulus bill, for many reasons.

    I’m coming up with the most effective way to stimulate the economy…you know, ’cause that’s what we’re talking about?

  177. Why? I never wrote anything one way or the other about the subject of whether Vegas needed another performance arena; I just noted that construction is, in fact, stimulatory. But if you say so.

    You said that by responding to someone’s point that said project was a waste!

    joe, you could try just admitting that you acted like you were *defending* that particular project, or you can just admit that you made a non-sequitur in the hopes of attracting attention.

    your choice, cholly.

  178. “Green” snake oil will be the next bubble.

    In 2019 people will make jokes about plug-in hybrids and wind farms the way we joke about Pets.com now.

    Possibly. But it won’t be private investors cause that would require venture capitalists to actually believe it could make money.

    We might be talking about government-run windfarms like Superfund though. Giant expensive publicly funded boondoggles.

  179. I’d like to repeat my suggestion that we traverse the country in the Good Year blimp, dumping out cash over populated areas.

    That would be stimulatory too.
    Why bother with the whole make-work part? Wouldn’t people be better off spending their time educating themselves or working on something else?

  180. “Do you have a problem with Chinese people, Tony? Are you some kind of bigot?”

    If I want to see my fellow Americans do better more than I want to see Chinese folks do better, does that make me a bigot?

    How about if I root for the American Olympic team against the Chinese Olympic team? Bigot?

    And yes, I’m serious.

  181. I’d like to repeat my suggestion that we traverse the country in the Good Year blimp, dumping out cash over populated areas.

    It’s helicopters, man. Helicopters, not blimps. Sheesh, get with the program.

  182. When Eisenhower built the interstate system, didn’t that have a positive effect on the U.S. economy.

  183. Photographic evidence that Obama IS the messiah.

    Obama’s Halo

  184. It’s helicopters, man. Helicopters, not blimps. Sheesh, get with the program.

    I’m torn. Blimps just convey “fat and bloated” so much more clearly. But on the one hand, helicopters have that whole aura of national emergency war and disaster about them.

    Quick, men! We have to get these bags of cash to Minneapolis by sundown, or there will be food riots and cannibalism!

  185. Blimps just convey “fat and bloated” so much more clearly

    This is an excellent point that I had not considered. Plus, Ben “Blimp” Bernanke has a nice little ring to it. Not quite as snappy as “Helicopter” Ben, though.

  186. Shouldn’t it be black helicopters with UN insignia? They dump money but take YOUR GUNS!

  187. That could be the stimulus program, a massive guns-for-cash-buyback program.

  188. The Angry Optimist | February 5, 2009, 5:47pm | #
    Yeah because getting Americans to buy more Chinese products will do wonders for our economy.

    Do you have a problem with Chinese people, Tony? Are you some kind of bigot?

    Yes, I am being serious.

    To which


    MNG | February 5, 2009, 6:28pm | #
    “Do you have a problem with Chinese people, Tony? Are you some kind of bigot?”

    If I want to see my fellow Americans do better more than I want to see Chinese folks do better, does that make me a bigot?

    How about if I root for the American Olympic team against the Chinese Olympic team? Bigot?

    And yes, I’m serious.

    MNG responds.

    So, are you Tony? Doubling our pleasure are you?

  189. “Quick, men! We have to get these bags of cash to Minneapolis by sundown, or there will be food riots and cannibalism!”

    Food riots maybe, but cannibalism? No way. The city is lousy with rabbit, squirrel, deer.

    But in any case, by all means please bring the bags of cash.

  190. Nope, I just wondered what in Tony’s original comments was supposed to elicit the charge of “bigot”.

    I’ve had many discussions on H&R where folks tell me that there is no such thing as a “national resources” there is just the resources on my land, and your land, and that other guy’s land, etc. That for me to want “America” to retain many of “its” natural resources, even though I do not own them, is crazy. During immigration debates I’m often told that borders are just “lines on maps” and that there is no such thing as “American” culture and such. And I’ve heard this kind of thing about how, you know, the Chinese worker has to eat just like the American worker, so why support the former versus the latter. And so I’m curious as to how libertarians see “America” and how they feel about it…

  191. “And so I’m curious as to how libertarians see “America” and how they feel about it…”

    It’s a land with too many Joe-like citizens. Way too many.

  192. maybe taking this outta context a little but:

    “there is no such thing as “American” culture and such.”

    first, this is a strawman. What is being said is there’s no point *defending* American culture, because, like all cultures, it’s in a constant state of flux. Furthermore, being among the most syncretic in nature of world cultures – in fact, syncretism being a defining characteristic of American culture – ‘standing athwart history’ (as a culture warrior) is actually antithetical to what American culture is supposed to be about.

  193. I’d like to repeat my suggestion that we traverse the country in the Good Year blimp, dumping out cash over populated areas.

    Meh, I’d prefer it to be dropped from the Ron Paul Blimp, if only for the crushing irony.

  194. the Chinese worker has to eat just like the American worker, so why support the former versus the latter. And so I’m curious as to how libertarians see “America” and how they feel about it…

    Thankfully, Smith and Ricardo were closer to the mark than Hobbes and Malthus. The Chinese and American workers are not eating at the expense of the other person.

  195. Not necessarily Kolohe. I’m not sure that someone can’t admit that syncretism is the nature of American culture (even though I would argue that is overblown: until quite recently American culture was pretty dominated by WASP institutions) and still be able to choose some point among the changing culture and say “let’s freeze right here, it’s nice right as it is, thank you.” It’s like when you were a kid and you would make a “super-drink” out of various fountain drinks, a little Pepsi, a little Root beer, a little Mountain Dew, but wait, that’s enough, no Mr. Pibb, you have to stop somewhere…

  196. (even though I would argue that is overblown: until quite recently American culture was pretty dominated by WASP institutions)

    I would argue that your view of how dominant WASP institutions were is overblown…

    I would argue, that is, but I am gonna go eat dinner instead.

  197. Why does Baracky keep calling this a “stimulus” bill? NPR says this too. Anyone else remember the “so-called surge”? You would if you listened to NPR. Just between you and me I think they’re a little marxist over there at the NPR.

  198. WASP institutions have dominated American *politics*.

    American *culture* is practically defined by the way it deviates from WASPyness. (From the first Thanksgiving to rock-n-roll)

    And I totally understand the point of view of ‘this mix is the correct one’. It’s the standard Buchanan/Derbyshire paleoconservative one. I understand it, but disagree with it, because they are making a mistake on the same axis, but in the opposite direction, as the multicuturalists who are against the ‘melting pot’ paradigm.

  199. “Not at all like that ‘busywork’ of repairing a crumbling infrastructure and bringing the country into the 21st century. Might as well ask workers to doodle all day long.”

    I’m all in favor of repairing infrastructure. That’s actually something I support. What pisses me off is all the riders inserted into the bill, and the fact that even the actual infrastructure budget is motivated more by politics than by a sober and reasoned assessment of the costs and benefits, to the economy in the long term, of specific projects.

  200. HAHAHAHA

    You have GOT to be kidding if you are complaining that Obama is using fear tactics. Especially if you are republican. WHAT??????

    You f-ing republicans followed practically EVERY tactic of Joseph Goebbels:

    You burned down the Reichstag (Twin Towers) and blamed the communists (Muslims) to seize power…

    You crushed your citizens with the “Patriot” Act and spied on EVERY CITIZEN as we know know….

    You tortured countless innocent people and murdered thousands or millions….

    You envoked fear EVERYWHERE and screamed boogie man every chance you got for false b–sh-t based nonsense.

    You destroyed our economy and took TRILLIONS.

    And now you are calling Obama a fear monger as he tries to pick up the pieces of the disaster you created?????

    If I had my way, I’d hang every single member of the Bush Administration by Hitler’s piano wire nooses. Good thing we live in a Democracy with Obama at the helm.

    How DARE you, republicans who are accusing Obama of fear tactics. YOU really are a threat to our nation more than every force on the planet and by the Grace of the Constitution you shall be allowed to continue to live freely. But…. we are onto you and laws are being passed to keep your crap from happening again. I’d suggest you move to an iceberg somewhere and watch it slowly melt with the global warming you deny and laugh about. Have a nice day.

  201. You guys are so dead.

    Watch this.

  202. Actually the 100 year recession is exactly what he’s promising. He’s sending out signal – via the far left – that without this massive “stimulus” (aka wholesale socialist reworking of the entire economy) we will essentially *never* recover from this recession. He, and his MSM allies, have basically staked their reputation on that. So if the bill doesn’t pass, and the economy recovers on its own (as it always does, when private enterprise is left alone) then basically the whole Ivy League Socialist program is discredited. Da Stakes Is High Yo!

  203. The comments of “Raaa” above says it all. There you have it Reason readers. A representative of the Obama constituency. Now do you get it?

  204. RAA: “You burned down the Reichstag (Twin Towers) and blamed the communists (Muslims) to seize power…”

    This is why we can’t take the left seriously. First you have the nutjobs who spout stuff like this, then you have the ones who egg them on, then you have the rest of the left who simply let it slide because as foul as these cretins are, they’re on their side.

  205. Raaa,
    Did you take your medication today?

  206. Raaa–New here? You seem to be lost.

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