Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Economist: "Obama stimulus did not create jobs" and "In retrospect, stimulus was too small"

"Lexington", August 6th to 12th 2011 issue:
Mr Obama’s fate depends more on two big bets he placed well before the Republican capture of the House in November’s mid-terms. The health-care reform that chewed up political capital in his first two years tanked with voters, and more than $800 billion of stimulus spending has so far failed to deliver the hoped-for growth in jobs. The outcome of the next election will depend more on unemployment than on Mr Obama’s handling of the past month’s comic opera on the debt ceiling.
Regarding the stimulus, perhaps the author should have read "Six years into a lost decade" on the previous page:
Had the new Obama administration seen that the economy was shrinking at close to 9% per year, it might well have pushed for a much larger stimulus plan, and might reasonably have expected Congress to agree to it.
Perhaps the stimulus averted an even greater disaster, even though the "hoped-for growth in jobs" did not materialize. After all, you either believe in stimulus spending during recessions or you don't.

Also, I would love to hear more about how a Congress that just imposed severe austerity on a fragile economy might have been "reasonably expected" to agree to a bigger stimulus.

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