New Fox News Op-ed: Stimulus Spending Is Making Things Worse Not Better

My new Fox News piece starts this way:

It isn't that President Obama's policies aren't working. It is just that the economy was so much worse off than anyone realized. -- Or so the Obama administration claims.

Vice President Joe Biden repeated the mantra again this past Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Host George Stephanopoulos asked him how the 9.5 percent unemployment rate in June squared with the administration's prediction that if the stimulus package was passed, "unemployment will peak at about 8 percent." Biden replied: "we and everyone else misread the economy. The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there."

Translation? The economy being much worse than ever predicted isn't Obama's fault, the Bush administration supposedly left us a worse economy than anyone realized. Even to Stephanopoulos, the alternatives were only two: "either you misread the economy [that the economy was worse than they realized], the stimulus package is too slow and to small." A headline in today's Wall Street Journal reports "Calls Grow to Increase Stimulus Spending." . . . .

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Blogger Unknown said...

Great article, too bad we don't see any criticism of their rhetoric vs. their deeds in the MSM, except for Fox.

7/08/2009 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These stimuli are very disturbing. First they show that Obama doesn’t trust private businesses, he thinks government is the answer. As long as he can borrow from abroad, he will keep spending. Second, this borrowing shifts a ton of financial burden to our children and grandchildren. Third, leftists say that this mountain of debt is fine because our debt-to-GDB ratio was higher than 100% during WWII. Well, on WWII we were going for all or nothing. It was either that, death or slavery. But now, to spend like this in time of peace? We will have little slack in a major war. We may have to appease the enemy, surrender or go nuclear right away. It’s outright dangerous.

7/08/2009 11:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Here is part of the vicious circle we are in. Take the debt we have and assume the interest only payments annually will fall in the 700 billion dollar range. We get nothing for the 700 billion and it hamstrings the leftists from implementing more of their pet schemes. However, a leftist is never deterred from a) pandering and b) extracting money from citizens so we get new taxes to allow them to initiate the latest schemes. Meanwhile, the economy sinks, more people become poor, which then leads to more schemes, more debt, etc., etc. and more demagoguery against anyone trying to keep their hard earned dollars.

7/09/2009 7:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Um, doesn't the 4 Trillion dollars in public debt created by Ronald Reagan count as "massive government spending". I seem to recall conservatives claiming that this spending is what brought down the Soviet Union by "out spending them (thus bankrupting them) during the cold war arms race".

7/09/2009 7:32 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Tim:

I have no clue what you are referring to about $4 trillion in debt under Reagan. Even if you add up everything over eight years from 1982 to 1989, it comes to a total of 1.4 trillion. If you adjust for inflation, it is the equivalent of $2.6 trillion in today's dollars. Thanks in large part to the stimulus, Obama is facing a $2 trillion deficit this year. A least a trillion dollar a year deficit as far as we can see in the future, and we don't even have the health care bill passed.

7/09/2009 8:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi John,
After double checking I see the number I quoted was the debt created by Reagan and Bush Senior together adjusted for today's dollars.
According to Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms) Reagan started with the debt at 1.13 trillion dollars in 1982, and when Clinton took office in 1994, the debt was at $4.64 trillion dollars. 4.64 - 1.13 = 3.51 trillion (unadjusted). If you convert that 3.51 trillion into today's dollars I believe the result is equivalent to over 4 trillion.

7/09/2009 8:54 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

1) Well, Tim, I don't bother going to look at Wikipedia because it is crap shot whether they get anything right. In any case, you can go here: B-78. Federal receipts, outlays, surplus or deficit, and debt, fiscal years, 1940-2009 and download the excel file (it is the Government Finance section).

2) Reagan was president for eight years, not twelve.

1982. -128.0
1983. -207.8
1984. -185.4
1985. -212.3
1986. -221.2
1987. -149.7
1988. -155.2
1989. -152.6

Under George H.W. Bush it was

1990. -221.0
1991. -269.2
1992. -290.3
1993. -255.1

3) Even if you want to say that Reagan was president for 12 years, that total comes to $2.4 trillion, and about a trillion of that is from Bush. It doesn't come to $3.51 trillion.

4) Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. If we are going to compare the $2 trillion deficit this year to Reagan's, it is Reagan's deficits that must be compared.

7/09/2009 10:37 PM  

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