ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, February 06, 2009

Obama's Porkulus, the CBO, and Average Joe Economists

Here are two related stories that I wanted to comment on today. First, from AP:

President Barack Obama says in Washington these days, everyone's an economist—or thinks they are.

Obama introduced a team of outside economic advisers Friday at a White House ceremony in which he also renewed his demand that Congress act quickly on his economic recovery package.

As the country struggles with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Obama said there has been no shortage of advice on how to solve the nation's woes.

"You've got some economists and some folks who think they're economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they're economists," he joked.

How elitist of you, Barry. While you may have been elected to the highest office in the land, your years of study in Columbia and Harvard Law, when combined with your years as a community organizer, Illinois State Senator, and Senator, make you probably the least qualified person to make such a statement. Unless by economics, you are referring to the skills you picked up learning of the myriad of ways that Illinois politicians "monetize" every decision they make.

The reason your porkulus package isn't getting the public's support is because deep down, in their gut, the voters know that the true problem with our economy is not a lack of government spending but a lack of government restraint. They see the amount of ridiculous projects that the Democratic party has thrown into the stimulus bill and rightly reject the whole package.

Most people recognize the fact that 2+2 does not equal 5.7 and understand that someone is going to have to pay for this unbelievable amount of spending.

And, while you may not like that assessment and may choose to ignore such wisdom, you should listen to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (you know, the guys who perform cost analysis of specific bills):

CBO: Obama stimulus harmful over long haul
Stephen Dinan (Contact)

President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

CBO, 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.

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.

The House last week passed a bill totaling about $820 billion while the Senate is working on a proposal reaching about $900 billion in spending increases and tax cuts.

But Republicans and some moderate Democrats have balked at the size of the bill and at some of the spending items included in it, arguing they won't produce immediate jobs, which is the stated goal of the bill.
While I certainly don't agree with most analysis by the CBO (they tend to overestimate the benefits and underestimate the costs), this should be a wake-up call.

We're in a terrible financial situation and the government is going to tax, borrow, or print money to increase its long-term power and wealth.

It's time for the Feds to tighten their belts. Let's start to see some layoffs from the country's largest employer, Barry! Or is every single government bureaucrat "indispensable"?

Oh, right... it turns out that part of the stimulus is to give federal employees a raise and to redecorate Federal buildings.

And you want to frighten people into supporting this bill? Well, I fear that passage of anything resembling what you describe as stimulus is going to throw us into a new Great Depression.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler