Wouldn't It Be Easier If We All Just Agreed that the Stimulus Worked?



E.J. Dionne has had it up to here with critics of the stimulus:

On the contrary, studies showing that the stimulus created or saved up to 3 million jobs are very hard to refute. It's much easier to pretend that all this money was wasted, although the evidence is overwhelming that we should have stimulated more.

Let me correct this: On the contrary, studies alleging to show that the stimulus created or saved up to 3 million jobs are based on scant real-world evidence, and, in the case of the Congressional Budget Office's reports, are explicitly acknowledged not to serve as independent checks on or measurements of the actual results of the program. According to the CBO's director, if the stimulus had failed to create jobs, the CBO's reports would not have caught that failure. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that the government's approach to stimulus was not as effective as it could have been. Or, to put it another way: "The fiscal-policy decisions of the past year and a half have not been implausible or inexplicable, but they have also not been empirically shown to work. The data point to other approaches."

I think the correct approach to the stimulus is less criticism and more skepticism. When it comes to macroeconomic tinkering, we know very little about what works. What we do know, though, is that the case that the stimulus was effective is built on an extremely shaky foundation.

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  1. EJ Dione is such a blatant partisan hack that it is pointless to read his columns for anything other than entertainment value.

    1. I stopped reading him for entertainment about 15 years ago. Seriously.

    2. I, also, challenge the entertainment of his columns.

    3. He looks way too much like Barney Frank for me to think he’s actually sane.

      1. Do you think he would throw a fit over a $1 ferry discount too?

        1. Did someone say a $1 fairy discount?!

          1. No discount for you!

      2. I actually thought that was a picture of Barney Frank. Until I read the article.

        1. That’s not Barney Frank?

      3. I always thought Dionne was black.

    4. On the contrary, studies showing that the stimulus created or saved up to 3 million jobs are very hard to refute.

      It was refuted on The View today! Obama bumbled through the answer. Not sure if that was before or after his talk about African-American mongrels. He also denied knowing anything about “Jersey Shore” even though he talked about exempting the cast from the tanning bed tax earlier this year.

      1. “Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that the government’s approach to stimulus was not as effective as it could have been”

        Really – what gave it away – let me see $800Billion in stimulus to “create or save” 3million jobs = $800Bil/3mm = $267,000 per job. Picking some random numbers, we could’ve paid 10 million unemployed people $40,000 per year for 2 years to pick their noses and still have gotten a better result.
        Incidentally seeing as a good chunk of the “stimulus” when to unemployment benefits and temporary tax rebates – it seems that we got just that – except that apparently the government managed to get good value for money.

  2. The evidence is overwhelming that a midget under the podium is waving for help.

    1. It is simply not cool to refer to Robert Reich in this manner.

  3. Shorter EJ Dione

    It is pretty hard to refute studies that show the stimulus worked because doing so would require independent thought and none of my friends would like me anymore.

    1. Even shorter: LEAVE OBAMA ALONE, YOU BIG, FAT MEANIES!!1!1!

      1. Even SHORTER: RACISTS!

  4. I sometimes hear Dionne on NPR on the way home from work. They have him on with David Brooks, for a supposed “left/right” thing.

    All I can say is every single time I’ve heard him, he strikes me as a leftist, partisan twat.

    1. Who is the right side of that left/right thing?

      1. He did say it was NPR – that puts Brooks just this side of Attilla.

    2. I love how they put Brooks on from the Right. He has made an entire career out of lamenting that he would be so much happier if Conservatives would just be more like liberals and attract a better class of people.

      1. Agreed. A liberal friend of mine loves to quote David Brooks to me as some kind “conservative” paragon.

        He (my friend) has no clue how much little actual conservatives think of Brooks.

        1. He (my friend) has no clue how much little actual conservatives think of Brooks.


        2. That is Brooks’ job. He exist to criticize conservatives so that liberals can use his name against conservatives and say “see even on of your own thinks you are nuts”.

          1. Frum is trying to take his job though, he’d better work harder.

          2. No secret I have a love/hate thing for William F Buckley, and David Brooks is one of the reasons. Pulled the guy semirandomly out of a lecture at a college because Brooks did a satirical piece on you? Jeez, Lou-eez, man, did you think that may have been a clue about the guy’s political leanings? So he softened them up a bit to fit into the template of the other mugged by reality liberals that worked for you still doesn’t make him tolerable. Maybe you should have thought about the power you wielded to make or break careers before you made him, eh? You did it for the most stupid of reasons, to prove your Goddamned precious magnanimity to people who only value it as a virtue when someone of your conservative ilk bows his head in submission. Any thought to how the rest of you would be stuck with his undue prominence, and his ‘establishment! establishment, how great thou art’ street corner rants long after you are gone? I’m not one of your tribe because your sentimentalism is grating on the nerves to me, but I can feel for the predicament your legacy wrought.

            Yeah, I’m talking to a dead guy, what about it?

            1. That guy David Brooks is dead?

              1. No, I think alan’s talking about W.F.Buckley. In fact, he’s talking to him.

                Had to read the post a couple of times to figure that out.

                1. Apologies. If I cut the first sentence it would have been more obvious. It’s like I tapped John to my right on the shoulder, said a few words, than I turned to the empty seat to my left and started rambling to it. Yeah, if I had rambled to the empty seat at the start, it would have made more sense/

  5. I still find it odd that all of these friggin’ experts know for damn sure that the government hasn’t “stimulated” enough. But not a damn one of them has the faintest fucking clue as to how much “stimulation” is enough. I guess the government is supposed to just keep spending madly and hope that something good will happen sooner or later.

    Is this what they mean by a “centrally planned economy”? Which part is the “plan”?

    1. They’re like mediaeval doctors: “The leeches are not helping the patient! Bring us more leeches!”

      1. “Time to switch to bleeding him directly from the vein!”

    2. Kinda like a douchebag trying to show a girl a good time: “she’s not quivering in pleasure at the feeling of my enormous dick! Why, I must not be fucking her hard enough!”

  6. Dionne is to the left of me. And we all know how my stimulus plans worked. Everyone pretended to work, and I pretended to pay them.

    1. At least your trains ran on time. Or was that a different statist buttsmear?

      1. Quit confusing Stalin with Mussolini.

      2. Well the trains did run on time. Until he had all the conductors & engineers purged for being Trotskyite saboteurs.

  7. I don’t know who is more loathsome. Dionne or Harold Meyerson.

    1. Hard call.

  8. Admit it Peter, you just want to see Obama and all other black people in chains.

    1. Is that why you’re suing Andrew Breitbart?

    2. Like Mr. T?

      1. Ahem:

        The new term is mongrels, not black people

    3. only if they’re going into labor

  9. The stimulas did work. The purpose of the stimulas was to pay back the SEIU for getting Obama elected and that’s what it did.

    You only think it didn’t work because you thought the purpose was to stimulate the economy.

    Your logic was sound, just not your premise.

    1. Winner!

    2. The truthiness of that statement is almost too much to bear.

    3. The stimulas did work. The purpose of the stimulas was to pay back the SEIU for getting Obama elected and that’s what it did.

      You only think it didn’t work because you thought the purpose was to stimulate the economy.

      Your logic was sound, just not your premise.

      + 787 billion

    4. Most succinct and on target post I’ve read all week.

  10. All I did was get the gov’t to lift it’s boot slightly from the economy’s throat, and it took off. Unemployment dropped from 12% to 3.5%. But all Dionne did was bitch about the deficit. Guess that no longer matters…

    1. It still matters, but being a hypocritical Team Blue cheerleader is a growth industry, and I’ve got kids in college.

  11. So, if the porkulus worked like Chairman Maobama asserts, why didn’t unemployment rate follow the trajectory he said it would?

    1. Libertarians
      George Bush
      Republican Congressional Minority

      Take your pick – it’s certainly not the Obama administration’s fault.

      1. Teabaggers were too busy protesting to get jobs…

  12. The Stimulus worked, and Suderman’s a racist.

    1. Suderman’s a tool not a racist.

    2. You’d better hope The Gobbler doesn’t see this…

  13. Every comment I have heard about the number of jobs saved by the stimulus has rested on some asshole plugging assumptions into a model and reading from the result pumped out by MSExcel. As a finance asshole who has built a model or two, they all reflect the judgments and biases of the modeler. Dionne should stick to what he got his degree in; sociology. Everytime he opens his mouth about economics or finance he only reveals what an absolute fuckwit he is.

    1. There is no empirical data. All they have are models that assume a given output for a given set of inputs.

      1. Oh, they have data alright. Forms filled out with pulled from the ass guesses, outright fraud, and census workers.

        Viola! Jobs!

        1. Why not violin?!

          1. Oh, now we see the violins inherent in the system…

            1. What’s all this I hear about violins on TV?

            2. Win!

            3. But no strings attached!

        2. Main Entry: voi?l?
          Variant(s): or voi?la \vw?-?l?\
          Function: interjection
          Etymology: French, literally, see there
          Date: 1739
          ?used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic

          1. Now I’m confused about who the dyslexic is.

            1. Saxon violins!

    2. “Every comment I have heard about the number of jobs saved by the stimulus has rested on some asshole plugging assumptions into a model and reading from the result pumped out by MSExcel. As a finance asshole who has built a model or two, they all reflect the judgments and biases of the modeler. Dionne should stick to what he got his degree in; sociology. Everytime he opens his mouth — he only reveals what an absolute fuckwit he is.”

      Fixed that for you

    3. +50 from a fellow finance asshole.

    4. I LOVE when people think a financial model is some kind of magic, rather than a plain old computational device that just does exactly what its creator told it to. Assumption: spending $X creates (X-Y)*.03 new jobs and saves (X/Z)*48 existing jobs. Sourcing these “equations” to further, and discredited, Keynesian assumptions. For heaven’s sake.

  14. Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?

    I think we’re finding that out right now. Signs point to “no.”

  15. “the modeled results are similar to the results of the model is the proof that the model is accurate” seems to be a meme of the left.

    Proof of Climate Change has the same characteristic.

    1. Alas, the one TV station that told the truth, no longer does. Last night the Weather Channel chicken littles were gleefully reporting the latest proof that the climate is indeed changing. Unspoken, as if it needed to be, is that Man is the cause. In goegraphic terms, we just got here.

      1. You mean the station formerly known as the Weather Channel. The founder of the Weather Channel has made many public statements that he thinks climate change is Bullshit, and laments the role his creation now plays.

        1. They could change it to The Propoganda Channel, but several other stations are vying for that title. But no one else has Nicole Mitchell.

  16. On the contrary, studies showing that the stimulus created or saved up to 3 million jobs are very hard to refute.

    Of course they are. When you begin with an unfalsifiable premise, everything else follows.

  17. Maybe if he just SHOUTS loudly enough, he won’t hear people telling him he’s wrong.

  18. “I think the correct approach to the stimulus is less criticism and more skepticism.”

    Quite an understatement. Considering that the stimulus money supposedly spent so far (under $500 billion) is more than half a year’s revenue for all the state governments combined, and all there is to show for it is nearly 10 percent unemployment–maybe it’s a complete failure?

  19. If you find Peter “if it’s a model it sucks” Suderman’s analysis a trifle thin, try this piece, which, shockingly, uses a model (a model in economics! outrageous!) that, shockingly, finds that the stimulus did work:…..ession.pdf

    1. Couldn’t be more convincing. I was skeptical until line 27 on page 13, then it was all over.

    2. Vanneman you are such a lying sack of shit. That article analyzes the effect of all the federal governments action (TARP, the Fed rates the whole bit) of which the stimulus was but a small bit. It admits in the introduction that all of the efforts were not equally effective and it is hard to tell which did what. Hardly and endorsement for the stimulus.

    3. And it’s already been refuted.

      1. I know that they think this is for a good cause. They really believe that the stimulus cap-and-trade and TARP green energy subsidies were good policies that got a bad rap. But in my view that does not justify this unseemly exercise in propaganda dressed up as research.

        Oh, wait. Am I in the right thread?

    4. Really Vanneman, Moodys?

      There is nothing wrong with models when used properly and associated with reasonable expectations. Garbage in, Garbage out is unavoidable. Furthermore, models break down at inflection points (i.e. when formerly true assumptions become false).

    5. I can build you a mathematical model that proves gravity is a lie and the speed of light is 2 cm/s. Whether or not the model is accurate depends on the underlying assumptions. Quite frankly, Vanneman, you’re about as qualified to judge the accuracy of a macroeconomic model as my dog is. Either tell us why this model is right and Suderman is wrong or STFU.

      1. A lot of people want very much to believe that the recession is over, despite current evidence that we’re about to double-dip. I say that as someone who is reasonably optimistic about a recovery, particularly if the government is stopped in its tracks in the near future.

        In any case, it’s quite common for economists to try to will the people into believing in a recovery. The idea being that increasing consumer confidence is half the battle to recovery.

        1. And, honestly, the consumer confidence line is a bunch of hoakum. The bulk of the actual empirical evidence is that business investment drives recoveries.

      2. gravity is a lie

        I knew it!

        1. “Gravity is a lie. The Earth sucks.”

      3. as my dog is

        Wow, you must have one fucking smart dog!

    6. Holy Shit! According to table 7, we’re going to have 5.5% annual growth in 2013. I can’t wait!

      Normally, I would think that that’s going to lead to one hell of a bubble down the line, but Obama has said he put an end to bubbles.

      If only an earlier president had been smart and willing enough to put an end to cyclical recessions, we’d be living in nirvana now.

    7. Based on the title,
      it must be a work of fiction.

  20. The stimulus did work: it shovelled millions of funds into pork barrel projects for politically connected insiders.

    That was the point of the stimulus, wasn’t it?

  21. At least I never purported to be smarter than the vast majority of the country when I was president.

    1. Did I use purported correctly?

      1. Ya did a heck of job there, GW

      2. The dumber you look, the smarter I appear. Keep it up, ya hick.

        1. Only when you’re looking through the Plexiglass navel…..

  22. O, for an amusing liar who would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention!

  23. More Assholes Criticizing the Stimulus! How dare they!

    Asshole #1

    Those of us who say that the stimulus was too small are often accused of after-the-fact rationalization: you said this would work, but now that it hasn’t, you’re just saying it wasn’t big enough. The quick answer to that accusation is that people like me said that the stimulus was too small in advance. But the longer answer is that it’s all in the math: Keynesian analysis provides numbers as well as qualitative predictions, and given reasonable projections of the economy’s path in January 2009, the proposed stimulus just wasn’t big enough.


    Asshole #2

    What went wrong with [the] stimulus [?]

    I had to add the missing word and punctuation for the illiterate fuck.

    1. Hey, Krugman was the amusing liar I was thinking of! Nice synchronicity!

      1. Without Journolist, the leftist hacks are having a hard time keeping their bullshit straight. It must be a really head-scratcher for them.

        “Should we admit the stimulus failed in order to argue for another one? It was too small! That’s the ticket! And that’s the built in excuse for the next one failing! NOTHING CAN FALSIFY MY PRECIOUS KEYNES! PRECIOUSSSSSSSS!”

    2. I wonder how big Krugman thinks the stimulus should have been. Are we talking Argentinian, Zimbabwean, or Weimar German levels of inflation here?

      1. Why stop there?

        1. What’s the lowest possible value a currency can have? Can it reach zero? Well, Dr. Krugman?

          1. It is an established, indisputable fact that the only way to get out of recession is to enact large stimulus measures.

            My time is simply too valuable to waste it on the ill-intentioned, unenlightened likes of you who will not concede this.

          2. I refuse to wipe my ass with that dollar.

          3. As long as it’s printed on a physical piece of paper it will have some value, no?

            1. I think Brett L beat me to it.

            2. I was hoping for something more fundamental, like a Planck value of currency.

              1. I thought that’s what we were getting at – the Planck value of any currency is its utility in the wiping of one’s ass.

                1. I’ve got a Zimbabwe $5 billion note. But that’s nothing next to the $100 trillion note they issued later. (Although both are equally effective for ass-wiping.)

              2. Hmm. After we adjust it back to our base year, it’s worth 6.6e-34 of a real dollar? That’s an impressively small number.

          4. Hungary had the worst inflation in history right after WWII. Their currency was losing half its value every 15 hours. Before the inflation started, the highest denomination in circulation was 1,000 pengo and by the end they had to introduce a new currency called the forint which was equal to 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengos

            1. What happened in Hungary will not happen here were we to pump trillions more into the economy in order to stimulate it. This is a fact, and saying otherwise is merely greed or ignorance.

              1. I’d take you seriously if you’d demand that we spend quadrillions. Trillions are so 2009.

              2. As Kruggers turns around in his high backed chair, revealing his pulsating brain to us mere humans, he declares, “I wager 4 quatloos a larger stimulus will work!”

                Next he says, “Is my credit good for 3.99999999999999 Quatloos?”

    3. He said the same shit about Japan, with it’s eye-popping mountain of debt.

    4. If $1.2 trillion was better than $0.8 trillion, wouldn’t $10 trillion be even better? There’s no limit to the money in the Obama-stash.

    5. That punctuation is unnecessary; it’s a relative clause, as in the statement “Krugman has no idea what went wrong with stimulus.”

  24. I refute it thusly!

    1. Alternative story about Dr. Johnson and his refutations (see the footnote).

  25. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that the government’s approach to stimulus was not as effective as it cold have been.

    That’s understating the case. The fact is, Stimulus efforts are based on incorrect premises, that consumption is what drives the economy.

    If Global Warming is dead, Keynesianism is leaving its rotten stink all over.

    1. Why would you tarnish your crackpot economics wrongness, which is at least not a hard science so you can get away with more, by coupling it with a demonstrated ignorance of scientific reality?

  26. But… but… it’s a 100% certainty that we would be in economic ruins right this minute if it weren’t for The Stimulus! Anyone who disagrees, is an ungrateful, seditious bastard!

    There, I just saved at least three Reason posters from having to type their responses.

  27. I’ll take an intelligence hotwire over four more years of this crap. It’s getting too depressing to come here and read this stuff every day.

    Mercer (or somebody pretending to be him, or the original hoaxster) put up a new “Mercer in 2012” page. It’s as lulzy as the 2008 page, and even more batshit insane.

  28. E.J. Dionne has had it up to here with critics of the stimulus:

    You don’t get to be a mainstay on NPR by arguing against it…

  29. Caption: Long, black, cylindrical, puffy at the end, and right next to my mouth. Looks familiar.

  30. Ahh, libertarians: as always, you just can’t seem to follow through on your own logic.

    Yes, it is entirely impossible to know how many jobs the stimulus “saved or created”, because that would require knowledge of the counterfactual world where the stimulus was not passed.

    Now, if it would just sink into your pretty little heads that this is true of ANY GOD DAMNED ECONOMIC POLICY, we might be getting somewhere. You you nit-witted morons scream from the rooftops all the time about how “So and so passed bill such and such, and XYZ happened, ergo causation!”.

    1. Aww, Chad. Heavy flow day?

    2. I’m so proud of you, Chad! You learned a new word today.


      That is so impressive. Now go out there and use it in a sentence!

      Yes, it is entirely impossible to know how many jobs the stimulus “saved or created”, because that would require knowledge of the counterfactual world where the stimulus was not passed.

      Very good, Chad! Can you tell us what that means?

      Chad? Chad?

    3. Chad, that’s why you define goals (and agree on metrics for the goals) before you engage in the policy. That way, you have a nice objective way to measure success and failure.

      By the administration’s own metrics (8 percent unemployment), the stimulus has failed. Anything else is rationalization.

      1. Then I’ll just set a lot of really low bars, easily jump them, and claim that I am 100% sucessful.

        If Obama had said that the stimulus would hold us to less than 20% unemployment, would you know agree with him that it had been successful?

        1. I agree, we should have no goals, standards, metrics, or any form of measurement. Just take what is given and do what you are told.

        2. you and I both know Obama couldn’t have sold it if he’d made that claim, therefore he had to lie to get his “payoff to SEIU” passed

        3. Don’t know yet. This clown still has 30 months to go.

  31. Alt text: What was that in Krugman’s glass that I just sipped?

  32. Take Care of THIS!|7.29.10 @ 3:57PM|#

    And it’s already been refuted.

    Pretty good link with an interesting comment section. I particularly liked this one:

    Gary Rogers writes:

    There seems to be a lot of assumptions in the economic models about stimulus spending, but I never hear any discussion of what happens when the money is taken out of the economy in order to fund the stimulus. After all, the money does not just appear out of nowhere. If we borrow $500 billion from other nations to fund the stimulus, does that cut into our ability to sell our exports? If it does, how much and what multiplier effect does this have on the suppliers to export companies and, in turn, their suppliers? If we borrow domestically, what other investments do the lenders forgo in order to make the loan to the government? If we just print the money, what happens to the economy? If a spending multiplier is created by spending the same money over and over through the economic food chain, why would there not be a similar multiplier when money that would have otherwise been spent is diverted to the stimulus? Do the economic models include any of this?

    To answer his question, to an extent they do, but I have rarely seen a Keynesian report whose numbers in regard to the multiplier effect were in anyway modest or realistic. The claims they make for government spending typically outstrip the private sector results even in the best of times. When you do see a more realistic claim, say stimulus prevented an x percentage collapse through preventing rapid deflation* instead of making claims on actual increases in productivity through stimulus usually that particular Keynesian is more heavily influenced by the Monetarist than Keynes and Samuelson.

    I once had to study IMF policy through the first two and a half decades of its existence. Though now it has an unearned reputation for pushing ‘austerity measures back then it was thoroughly Keynesian through and through (cannot emphasize that enough — Keynesian policy in the US exist in a vacuum). A lot of capital got sucked into that bottomless pit, going to the Suhartos and Nyereres of this world more than happy to use fallicious theory to their advantage.

    The SEIU and Detroit are late comers, but by God, they have got some first class talent out there to justify their filthy lucre. Why should only Goldman Sacs profit from this financial disaster? Krugman and Blinder are just looking out for the ‘little guy.’

    * and this is not really an empirically proven claim — only those who make a killing in the money markets have shown any ability to predict the velocity of money, and no one has done so with enough regularity to call it a science though Soros tried to spin it that way in his Godawful Alchemy of Finance — and yes, this is usually thought of as a seperate matter velocity of currencies and money market speculation because one is central to an academic discipline and the other is considered more real world, but conceptually speaking that is mere categorization, the most telling difference being the numbers for the moneyman need to be more accurate for him to continue to eat, whereas Binder can sell propaganda like this shit with no repercussions because the world of American academic economics is a house of shit.

  33. Future News:
    Keynesian Bankrobbers Save Local Economy

    The biggest bank robbery in Kennebrokeport history has left the people stunned. Criminals stole $12 million dollars in cash and government notes, 12% of the town’s annual economic output.

    The robbers offered an interesting bargain. In exchange for a pardon, they will spend all of the cash within the town on restaurant meals and consumer goods, thus stimulating the local economy. Town leaders are hopeful, and some are even pleased.

    The mayor announced that this was a great opportunity to “jump-start” the economy in what are difficult economic times. “We will all start working and spending again. I think we all forgot how to consume. Now we will get back into the habit, and eventually we will all be rich”.

    The mayor continued “I have talked to government economists about the effect of this. They say we have lucked out, that we should get an economic boost of 1.5 times the amount stolen and spent. We are actually going to make a lot of money on this deal. I didn’t know that bank robbery could be so beneficial to the community. I’m thinking of changing our entire attitute toward this type of theft.”

    Townspeople are suspicious of the newcomers spending a lot of cash, but do not want to ruin their own economic future by prying into how they obtained the money. “We’re just happy that someone is spending again, although they are not great tippers.”

  34. Dionne is such a tool. His WaPo column yesterday is among the worst things I’ve read in years.


  35. EJ Dionne is an ignorant left wing apologist for Obama and the DemocRATic Party in General. He has absolutely no sense of how business works or a knowledge of Economics or how anything actually works.

    Why is a dunce like this allowed to continue to write drivel and nonsense? Oh, yes…there are so many ignorant people who need to BELIEVE in nonsense.

  36. the stimulus involved several kinds of spending
    one was giving money to states that they were to use in making further spending commitments in future years.
    this did nothing directly to encourage private sector hiring and actually discouraged it because it implied higher state taxes in the future.
    it also included an immediate small payout to individuals, that is, to consumers. This did not stimulate those hiring for the long term at all either.
    then there were such brilliancies as the cash for clunkers program; this rewarded those with an old car who were planning to buy a new car in the next few months, and took lots of old cars off the market, thereby hurting potential buyers of same. Rewarding wealthy new car buyers at the expense of poor clunker buyers might have done some stimulating but very little.
    All of these things did little or no private sector job creation. The money paid for these things comes from taxes or borrowing. Taxes put a brake on job creation, borrowing crowds out borrowing by productive entrepreneurs and both destroy jobs, far more effectively than the “stimulus” created them. The huge government spending also produced loss of confidence in the stability of the dollar, which cost billions in loss of investment by people and entities abroad. It also caused fears of instability locally which has made potential employers hesitate before committing money to hiring that may be needed in a future crisis stemming from this senseless (de-)stimulus program.
    It has cost millions of jobs!

  37. Obama predicting 8% and getting 9.5% unemployment on a stimulus generally agreed to be inadequate isn’t exactly starting a war over nonexistent WMDs, but whatever.

    I read the Drudge report. I know the trajectory of these right-wing talking points. I just don’t get why I’m yelled at for pointing out when so many trot out this stupid crap like mindless sheep.

    1. So Obama cannot be held accountable for anything? Ever? Unless he starts a war?

      1. Not Tony’s point but hey, claiming the Iraq war would last weeks, not months or years, is far more off base than being wrong about unemployment by 1.5%.

        If the Bush admin can be given a pass for their error, Why not the Obama admin for less of an error.

        1. The war in Iraq did last only a couple of weeks.(We went there to take Saddam down,mission accomplished)

          The occupation is a different story.

          And no,I’m not defending the war in Iraq,just pointing out that Bush et al were right about what it would take to defeat Saddam. They were wrong to think that would be the end of it.

          1. And,of course,wrong to go to war in the first place.

  38. Pssssst Tony….they’re all asleep. It was nice of you to post something at the tail end of a dead thread calling doubters of stimulus mindless sheep. You won’t have to endure being called a Keynesian lemming. The stimulus was promised in order to keep unemployment at 8% max. You refer to 9.5% unemployment. The actual figure is much higher if you factor in those who have given up looking for work. So we incurred a trillion more in borrowed money which added it’s own long term damage to economic prospects and we get an unemployment rate well above 9.5%. Wow what a great deal!

  39. Actually, even accepting the 3 million jobs figure doesn’t mean that the stimulus “worked” in any meaningful sense. The Keynesian claim is not that spending money and hiring people will lead to those hired having jobs. That is a tautology. And, assuming a $850 billion price tag (a low estimate) and 3 million jobs saved (a grossly inflated estimate), we’re still talking a cost of $283,333 per job saved, a grossly excessive price. Rather, the Keynesian claim is that giving those people jobs would in turn lead to other people’s jobs being saved. There is really very little evidence to support that that has happened. As many here have noted, just the fact that we’re being told that another stimulus is needed argues against that claim.

  40. Regardless of whether the stimulus “saved or created” 3 million jobs, am I supposed to be impressed that it did so at a cost of more than $250,000 per job? Seriously, how can that money only create that comparatively small number of jobs and be considered a success. If we wanted to just throw money at the problem, they would have been better served paying off the homes of 3 million americans (they can start with mine…). Imagine the economic impact of 3 million americans who suddenly have an extra $1000 plus dollars of disposable income a month…

    1. If we wanted to just throw money at the problem, they would have been better served paying off the homes of 3 million americans (they can start with mine…). Imagine the economic impact of 3 million americans who suddenly have an extra $1000 plus dollars of disposable income a month…

      Don’t give them any ideas.

  41. We should have spent $20 trillion. Then there would have been 10 billion jobs.

    Stupid wingnuts, um, stopped us, though. Racists.

  42. I love to tone of EJ’s column. “Can’t we all just agree that stimulus worked?”

    Let’s flash back to 2005. “Can’t we all agree that the Iraq war was a great idea?”

    Same concept. Please don’t apply any intellectual scrutiny or metrics to the ideas of the left. If you do, you must be a raaaacist.

  43. You guys are sooooooooooo dumb. The answer is sooooooooooo obvious. Forget all the stimulus talk. They should just make everything free! Duh.

  44. “Wouldn’t It Be Easier If We All Just Agreed that the Stimulus Worked?”

    Well, sure, it would be easier. It wouldn’t be true, but it would be easier. Most lies are.

  45. Do these clowns ever take into account the trillions of debt that we will have to pay interest on FOREVER?

    Do they not see that if interest rates go up substantially, it’s GAME OVER for us regardless of whatever evanescent short-term benefits we may have received from “stimulus”?

    It’s incredible.

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