“Saturday afternoon on NPR James Fallows proclaimed that “there is essentially no disagreement WHATSOEVER” among economists that more stimulus spending is necessary today [emphasis in the original]. He are misinformed.
Last year, hundreds of economists signed a petition, circulated by the Cato Institute, whose key clause reads “it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today.” Among the economists who signed this petition in opposition to ‘stimulus’ spending are three Nobel laureates in economics (Edward Prescott, Vernon Smith, and James Buchanan). Others signers include Chicago’s Eugene Fama and Sam Peltzman, Harvard’s Jeffrey Miron, Texas A&M’s Thomas Saving, Cornell’s Rick Geddes and Dean Lillard, University of Virginia’s Lee Coppock and Kenneth Elzinga, Duke’s Michael Munger and Edward Tower, University of Rochester’s Mark Bils and Ronald Schmidt, Rutger’s Michael Bordo and Leo Troy, University of Southern California’s John Matsusaka and Kevin Murphy, and one of the world’s preeminent scholars of money and banking, Carnegie-Mellon’s Allan Meltzer.
Perhaps these economists and the many others who’ve signed this petition- and who continue to speak out against what they believe to be the folly of ‘stimulus’ – are mistaken. But for James Fallows to announce publicly on NPR that there is “no disagreement WHATSOEVER” among economists that more stimulus spending is desirable is so wildly inaccurate that it borders on being irresponsible.
Maybe Paul Krugman bellows at such a loud volume, and with such deafening screechiness, that Fallows really believes that nearly all economists support more stimulus spending. Or perhaps Fallows simply assumes that the world conforms to his notion of what it should be.”
This is edited from a letter to The Atlantic from Donald Bordeaux of George Mason University and is an opinion shared by this participator.
Given that most of the stimulus money from the AR&RA of 2009 went to support existing public employee salaries and questionable public works, I wonder, as did Thomas Friedman in the column noted below, whether this kind of deficit spending is truly a thoughtful and worthy investment. The dilemma faced by Governor Christie of NJ over whether to continue funding a rail tunnel to Manhattan is informative and his decision instructive about further exposing public funds to uncontrolled spending. I direct you to a column by David Brooks also a NYTimes writer and also below for thoughts that better articulate this issue than I am capable of doing.
My bottom line is that stimulus spending of public monies has not proven to be money well spent, deficits are gravely damaging our country’s well being and I worry that our politicians are incapable of spending public funds wisely given the pressures exerted by all the groups who demand public funds.