Stone Pigs

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Stimulus Not Stimulating

Posted By Alan Partis on July 8, 2009

While it is relatively old news and widely known that the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus package, also known as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," wasn’t designed to dump large amounts of cash into the economy in a hurry, VP Joe Biden’s recent remarks about it are still striking1. Nor is this the first time he’s made such remarks. The most quoted remark is:

We misread how bad the economy was, but we are now only about 120 days into the recovery package. The truth of the matter was, no one anticipated, no one expected that that recovery package would in fact be in a position at this point of having distributed the bulk of the money.

When he says "they" misread how bad the economy was, does he mean it was worse than they thought? Or does he mean it was better than they thought? I believe he is saying the former; it was worse than they thought. Either way, it proves that measuring and predicting these things is a bit less than an exact science. It’s also fair to assume that most people, in such matters, would tend to err on the side of caution and assume the worst case scenario is reality.

It’s hard to imagine though, given the degree of fear that was coming from the halls of Congress, how things could really have been worse than they thought. Speech after speech by Democrats from the floors of the House and Senate, warned of pending doom and the danger of inaction. The very manner in which this massive spending bill was hastily composed, an aggregation of career politicians’ ‘wish list’ projects (including a very massive new health care information system), seemed to underscore the gravity of the situation we faced.

However, in light of the fact that the so-called stimulus package was never designed (as confirmed by Joe Biden) to spend much money up front, one can logically conclude that, in truth, things weren’t nearly as bad as they were being portrayed. In fact, a great lie was being told to the public.

The American people were absolutely right to protest this bill and it was wrong of Congress to pass it over our vehement objections.

Unfortunately, there is very little new from this episode from which to learn. It simply reinforces the facts that our party-affiliated governmental leaders cannot be trusted.

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1 Biden Acknowledges Administration ‘Misread’ The Economy, Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, July 5, 2009.


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