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If Your Sense of Stimulation Lasts For More Than Four Hours…

January 4, 2010

If you can spare a little discussion on something that happened almost a year ago, hear me out here.  A common critique of the stimulus package as an economic growth measure goes something like this–how can we say that we need Stimulus II when not even half of the original stimulus has been dispersed?  It’s been a mind-boggler for a while for those of us who want government to accept any form of responsibility at all for its spending.  Paul Krugman, however, has finally clarified the point for us in his response to Ben Bernanke’s statement that we should wait to spend more public funds since not that much of the original stimulus has been spent.

The stimulus has already had its maximum impact on growth — and there’s no sign that private final spending is ready to pick up the slack… Waiting to be absolutely, totally sure that we really need more strikes me as deeply irresponsible.

So, according to the most prominent and well-respected economist on the Left, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has exceeded its usefulness.  It can no longer be expected to account for any economic growth in the future.  This post was written exactly one month ago.  A month later, just 18% of the stimulus has been spent, according to  Yes, 18%.  By extension, does this mean that over 80% of the $787 billion stimulus package was strictly pork?  Well, yes, according to, that’s right, Paul Krugman.  I know it’s going to be a while before we can come to a consensus that this was the biggest waste of Treasury dollars in history, but can we at least abandon the notion that it was supposed to “stimulate” the economy?

The country would have been much better off with a partial payroll tax holiday, but not only was that not on the table, it wasn’t even in the same room.

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