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Stimulus, pro and con

 

With Obama pressing his case, Politico details a counter-argument:

The language used to make the case for stimulus is stark and gloomy — and, by all measures, pretty accurate. But there is also a caveat attached to every solution proposed: that it simply might not work. Economists on the right and left say there is a chance, perhaps a decent one, that $1 trillion injected into a $14 trillion economy might be too little, too late to turn things around anytime soon.

In fact, government stimulus plans have a long history of failure. Remember last February’s $168 billion economic stimulus package? President Bush called it “a booster shot for our economy” and promised that it was large enough to have an effect. It wasn’t, and it didn’t work.

This time around, the Do-Nothing Crowd argues that the new spending — which dwarfs last year’s effort — is probably insufficient and definitely unwise. It is largely an economic argument. But there is also a cultural dimension. Many of the Do-Nothings argue that a painful recession is the best way to destroy America’s runaway culture of irresponsibility and debt. Economic turmoil, after all, has a way of grounding Americans.

Schiff and the other Do-Nothings argue that the government should simply allow the economic chips to fall where they may. Dramatic belt-tightening across the board is the only way, they say, to stop the endless cycle of borrowing.

“Our standard of living needs to come down to the point where it can be supported by organic output,” says [Andrew] Schiff. “It’s brutal, but it’s called capitalism, and it works. The alternative is called socialism, and it doesn’t work.”

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