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More Evidence Of Stimulus Effectiveness

Lawn in front of the White House, Washington, DC.

Image via Wikipedia

The White House is releasing a report today that shows that the stimulus package was under budget, had few reported cases of abuse or fraud, and was able to fund more projects than expected.

The Washington Post reports today: “Report gives stimulus package high marks”

In addition to assessing how the stimulus program has been carried out, the study restates the administration’s case that the package has been effective economically, arguing that it staunched the worst bleeding in employment and led the economy to rebound late last year.

Many prominent economists agree with that assessment. The CBO has forecast that the package may be on track to meet the administration’s goal of preserving 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

The number of complaints and fraud and abuse investigations were attributed to the oversight the Administration implemented from the outset:

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, which represents government contractors, said the unprecedented focus on oversight clearly paid off and should be analyzed for lessons that could be applied throughout the government.

Compare and contrast that with the way money was handled in Iraq and Afghanistan ( “Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds” and “Corruption Suspected in Airlift of Billions in Cash From Kabul” ).

It seems clear that there is a difference when people who think government can be an effective tool to reach our collective goals are in charge — and when people who think government is a problem run things.

-Chris

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October 1, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Obama, Politics, Republicans, Stimulus | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Austerity And Stimulus

Anti-austerity protest in Brussels on Septembe...

Image by Surat Lozowick via Flickr

One of the debates in the upcoming midterms concerns the stimulus package and whether or not it failed.

Citing no evidence (except that the economy isn’ t booming), Republicans say that the stimulus was a hands down failure.

I have written in this space before linking to articles showing that this simply isn’t true.

Unemployment numbers reported today seem to show a recovery is happening, even before significant amounts of the stimulus money have been spent.

The real debate is between a Keynesian approach to the economy and the right’s insistence on austerity measures.

A number of Paul Krugman’s recent articles have illustrated how sharp turns toward austerity in Europe have been counterproductive to recovery.

Most recently, he writes:

…mainstream macroeconomics – which suggests that we need a lot more stimulus, monetary and fiscal – has actually held up very well in this crisis; it has, above all, made the right predictions about inflation and interest rates, while the doctrines underlying the pain caucus have gotten it all wrong. Yet “serious” policy makers are rejecting the theory that works in favor of theories that don’t.

Republicans and their lapdog Democratic allies continue to push economic balderdash.

The Motley Fool website has a nice piece from August pitting Keynes against Frederich Hayek. Hayek, and his tome The Road To Serfdom have been essential touchstones for the Tea Partiers who take their marching orders from Glenn Beck.

The article, in a roundtable format contains a lot of head scratching from the various analysts, who find polite ways of saying, “are these people crazy? Austerity measures at a time like this are like economic suicide”.

An example:

We need to take all of this debt-reduction excitement and bottle it up — it’ll come in very handy a few years down the line, when the economy can better handle such measures. But for now, release the Kraken! … um, I mean, the stimulus. – Matt Koppenheffer, Fool contributor

I am not an economist, but I can see what has worked and why, and what has not. I read a lot of history.

It would have been illuminating to see what would have happened if the stimulus had been doubled. We would have  a very clear idea if the conventional wisdom holds true (as it has in case after case before).

Perhaps it would have put the final nail in the coffin of this particular bad idea — but that is likely wishful thinking.

The Great Depression sent a generation of conservatives and their failed policies into exile.

Now they’re back with a vengeance.

 Because people forget of the bitter fruits of their ideology.

Maybe someone should remind them.

-Chris

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Deficit, Democrats, Economics, Obama, Republicans, Stimulus, Unemployment | Leave a comment

Unemployment Down

Here’s some good news:

Unemployment down in most metro areas, feds say

Unemployment fell in nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas last month, the broadest improvement since May.

So, something is working out there.

Let’s hope the trend continues.

-Chris

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Stimulus, Unemployment | Leave a comment

Pledge of Lies

So, the Republicans haven’t learned a thing since their “Contract With America” was revealed for the utter fraud that it was.

Their new “Pledge To America” is rife with distortions and what FactCheck.org politely refers to as “dubious claims”:

“Fact Checking ‘The Pledge'”

The report starts with a damning summary that takes “The Pledge” apart — revealing it for the cheap publicity stunt that it is.

For example:

  • It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs.
  • It says that “jobless claims continue to soar,” when in fact they are down eight percent from their worst levels.
  • It repeats a bogus assertion that the Internal Revenue Service may need to expand by 16,500 positions, an inflated estimate based on false assumptions and guesswork.
  • It claims the stimulus bill is costing $1 trillion, considerably more than the $814 billion, 10-year price tag currently estimated by nonpartisan congressional budget experts.
  • It says Obama’s tax proposals would raise taxes on “roughly half the small business income in America,” an exaggeration. Much of the income the GOP is counting actually comes from big businesses making over $50 million a year.

On healthcare, the stimulus bill, the economy, taxes and small business, the GOP pledge presents a fiction.

What is important to remember is this tidbit:

Fact: It’s true that the economy lost nearly 8.4 million jobs from the peak of employment in December, 2007 to the bottom of the job slump in December of last year. More than half (4.4 million) were lost before Obama took office. The economy has regained 723,000 jobs since hitting bottom, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, the economy is turning around after being driven into the ground during the last administration.

Look at the record. That’s what things like this “pledge” purport to do. As as you can see, the Republicans have to make things up and want don’t want accountability for what they did.

Don’t let them get away with it.

-Chris

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Health Care, Health Care Reform, Obama, Politics, Republicans, Stimulus, Tax Debate | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One Nation Working Together Rally on Saturday

Washington dc

Image via Wikipedia

The One Nation Working Together Rally is happening this Saturday in Washington, DC.

Smaller events will be held throughout the country on various dates.

Check the Website for more information.

-Chris

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Deficit, Health Care, Health Care Reform, Immigration, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Stimulus, Tax Debate | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yes. The Stimulus Did Create Jobs

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act constru...

Image via Wikipedia

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Stimulus Package (or The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) created between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.Org calls shenanigans on the Republican campaign rhetoric in “Did the Stimulus Create Jobs?” posted here.

The economic stimulus package is a favorite target of Republican candidates and groups, but more than a few ads falsely claim it did not create or save any jobs. Some recent examples:

  • Republican House candidate Dan Debicella charges that Democratic Rep. Jim Himes failed Connecticut’s families because he voted for a “stimulus package that has done nothing to reduce unemployment.”
  • Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for governor in Florida, says Democrat Alex Sink “backed the failed stimulus bill, which created debt, not jobs.”
  • Similarly, Sink — who never served in Congress and didn’t vote on the bill — is attacked by the Republican Party of Florida in an ad that says the stimulus “gave us big debt and no jobs.”
  • Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that does not have to disclose its donors, aired an ad against Democratic congressional candidate Denny Heck of Washington that claimed the “$787 billion stimulus … failed to save and create jobs.” The group has launched similar ads against other Democrats.
  • Kristi Noem, a Republican House candidate from South Dakota, calls the measure a “jobless stimulus.”

The stimulus created more jobs. Period. Likely millions of jobs. From FactCheck.org:

As we have written before, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report in August that said the stimulus bill has “[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points” and “[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.”

If you hear otherwise from friends and acquaintances, please correct them.

-Chris

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Obama, Politics, Republicans, Stimulus, Unemployment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment