The imperfect stimulus

Jim Geraghty:
Presume for the sake of argument that the Obama administration is correct that the stimulus and their other efforts to decrease unemployment and build a prosperouseconomy could have worked, but were impeded by factors beyond their control: “This recession turned out to be a lot deeper than any of us realized,” “a string of bad luck,” “the Japanese earthquake” “an Arab Spring” “economic headwinds from Europe” “uncertainty from the debt ceiling debate” “globalization” “automation”  “ATMs”, and so on. 
Put aside your inclination to roll your eyes and exclaim, ‘excuses, excuses’ for a moment, and examine what this argument really is: Obama and his congressional allies came up with a plan that could work, but only if the conditions were right, or near-perfect. Any economic instability or unforeseen circumstance, in Japan, Europe, or the Arab world would impede its effectiveness to the point where our current circumstances – 8.1 percent unemployment, million under-employed, 2.2 percent quarterly GDP growth, etc. – are the very best anyone could possibly expect. 
Then it would be fair to ask, it wasn’t much of a plan, was it?
It was a bad plan that wasted money on teacher's union allies and and investments in failed alternative energy projects promoted by his donors.  Its tax cuts were poorly targeted and did little to stimulate growth in the economy.  It was a giant trickle up plan at best where money was directed mainly to Democrats in blue states.  Meanwhile it was the red states that had most of the growth because of their low tax low cost structure. It is something that would have worked on the national level too.  Too bad it was not tried.


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