Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thank God We Got That Stimulus Passed in Time!

Remember this?
"The [stimulus] plan is not perfect," the president said. "No plan is. I can't tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans."
Right. And without any sense of irony, he said:
Obama said his administration inherited a deficit of more than $1 trillion along with "the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression." "That is a deficit that could turn a crisis into a catastrophe. And I refuse to let that happen."
Back to reality. The 'imperfect' (read: pork-laden) stimulus money?:
It turns out the federal government is not even efficient at wasting our money. The New York Times reports that less than 6 percent of the $787 billion stimulus package approved by Congress in February has been spent so far.


They'd better hurry [to spend the money], before the economy recovers on its own. Both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Christina Romer, chairwoman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, say it looks like the recession will end later this year. (Barclays Capital strategist Barry Knapp says it may have ended last month, which he predicts is where the National Bureau of Economic Research ultimately will locate the bottom of the downturn.) Yet the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 25 percent of the stimulus money will be spent by the end of the year. That's one-quarter of a sum that stimulus enthusiasts such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said was woefully inadequate.
And how about our projected deficits? Courtesy of Megan McArdle:

Also via Megan:
The White House raised the 2009 budget deficit projection to a staggering $1.8 trillion today. For context, it took President Bush more than seven years to accumulate $1.8 trillion in debt. It also means that 45 cents of every dollar Washington spends this year will be borrowed.

President Obama continues to distance himself from this "inherited" budget deficit. But the day he was inaugurated, the 2009 deficit was forecast at $1.2 trillion -- meaning $600 billion has already been added during his four-month presidency (an amount that, by itself, would exceed all 2001-07 annual budget deficits). And should the president really be allowed to distance himself from the $1.2 trillion "inherited" portion of the deficit, given that as a senator he supported nearly all policies and bailouts that created it?

The president also talks of cutting the deficit in half from this bloated level. But even after the recession ends and the troops return home, he'd still run $1 trillion deficits -- compared to President Bush's $162 billion pre-recession deficit. In other words, the structural budget deficit (which excludes the impacts of booms/recessions) would more than quintuple.
To sum up: we borrowed a lot of money that we really didn't need at a time we really couldn't afford it because...too many people borrowed money that they really didn't need for stuff that they really couldn't afford.

Economic genius.

1 comment:

The Dude said...

Great post. I'm sure the retort to the articles and quotes you give would be that the stimulus will speed up the recovery.