Obama Doesn’t Get It

Rep. Aaron Schock talks about the stimulus, and urges a NO VOTE. Despite President Obama’s observations, workers at the Catepillar workers do not support the stimulus.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Obama Doesn’t Get It“, posted with vodpod
Advertisements

Leading economists take on the $800 billion stimulus scam

It seems some of the leading economists do not agree with Obama and that there are other options… Obama’s fear mongering to pass his pork roll has the economy in a panic and making things worse…

Yesterday, the United States Senate passed a sweeping $800 billion stimulus plan that President Barack Obama says he would like to sign into law as soon as possible. “There is no disagreement,” Obama has declared, “that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help jump-start the economy.”

Reason.com asked a panel of leading economists for their response to the stimulus package.

Robert Higgs

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

This legislation entails the addition of a huge increment to the burden of debt the public must bear, directly or indirectly. It redirects resources on a grand scale from uses consumers value to uses politicians value and thereby impoverishes the general public. I’ve written along these lines at greater length here and here.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

All of it works. The trouble is what it works for, which is to reward virtually every special interest allied with the Democrats and to guarantee the recipients’ future support for the pirates who are now sending the booty their way. It is eerily similar to the New Dealers’ use of the Works Progress Administration and other big relief programs to buy votes and bulk up their political machine.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

For the economy in general, doing nothing is vastly preferable to doing the stimulus package, but doing nothing is not a political option; indeed, it would be political suicide. Which shows that only by adopting economically destructive policies can politicians survive. Do you see something wrong in this picture? Given the dominant ideology and the political institutions that now exist, economically rational public policy is incompatible with political viability. See here. Having hit bottom, the politicians can only do one thing: keep digging. If Hell is down there, they’ll reach it, sooner or later.

Robert Higgs is senior fellow in political economy for The Independent Institute and editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The biggest problem with the stimulus package is the amount by which it increases total government spending, the national debt, and therefore future taxes.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

If by “work,” you mean alleviate the depression, there is nothing in the stimulus that will do so.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

Not at all. The best thing the government could do is to cut spending and taxes. Doing nothing is a second-best option.

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel is associate professor of economics at San Jose State University and the author of Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War.
Megan McArdle

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

Even if you accept the theory of the stimulus, the package is not well-structured. A good stimulus package should be designed to move money out the door rapidly, then stop. This program is designed to move money out the door slowly, and keep going. Moreover, the vast size of the package is going to add big costs in the not-so-distant future which have barely been discussed.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Expanding unemployment benefits and food stamps—the “automatic fiscal stabilizers”—are relatively low cost and transparent. They target money to the people whose consumption is contracting the most, and they will naturally shrink as the economy recovers.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

I would like to see more proof of the statement that doing something is better than doing nothing. The Keynesian arguments upon which Obama’s statements are based work out neatly in the textbooks, but there’s little proof that they actually make things better, in aggregate, in the real world. And the current situation is all the proof you need that there are massive holes in our old textbook models.

Megan McArdle writes about economics, business, and politics at The Atlantic.

Deirdre McCloskey

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package? 

It’s not targeted, not temporary, not timely. Especially the last. Too slow, too slow, alas.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

At less than full employment the Keynesian stuff works. So the minority of the quickie expenditures will “put people back to work”—until we return to almost-full employment, which will happen pretty quickly in the recovery. At that point the stimulus will merely crowd out private investment. In the short run people might get more cheerful, too, always a good thing. But in two years the recession will be over. And the myth will grow up—rather similar to the ones about FDR and war expenditure—that Obama did it. Essentially, Obama will get credit for the self-adjusting character of the economy. I reckon we should start preparing that other face of Mount Rushmore.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

I agree on the money and banking side, not on the real expenditure side. We are in a financial panic, which happens only in a few recessions (1907, 1929). In other words, the TARP is way, way more important than the stimulus. Truly, Something Must Be Done about the banks. That’s a logic of second best—the government fouled up the banking system (the most regulated part of the economy), so maybe the government should help clean up the mess. Someone needs to, and I reckon it’s not going to be the Icelandic government. J.P. Morgan, where are you when we need you?

Contributing Editor Deirdre McCloskey teaches economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her latest book is The Myth of Statistical Significance.

Allan H. Meltzer

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

No thought is given to the medium and longer-term consequences. We are very likely to have large inflation in the next few years.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Yes, extending unemployment compensation, tax subsidy to homebuyers, some of the permanent tax cuts.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

Yes. But doing the right things is the option.

Allan H. Meltzer is the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of political economy and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Jeffrey A. Miron

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The package is focused on increased spending and tax cuts that fail to improve incentives. I am extremely skeptical that the U.S. has $500 billion in additional productive spending, especially if done in a hurry. In most areas government spending is too high, not too low.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Roughly, no.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

Doing nothing is always an option, and in my view it would be better than the stimulus. Better yet, we should fix those aspects of current policy that ought to be fixed independent of the crisis. Seehere and here.

Jeffrey A. Miron is a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University.

Michael C. Munger

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The creation of new bureaucratic and regulatory structures, restrictions on creation of liquidity. The genius of the American system, for all its flaws, has been that we can mobilize lots of liquidity quickly. Silicon Valley exists because you could sit down, make a pitch, and get $10 million that afternoon.

If we start governing finance like we govern universities, or city councils, we are going to lose that. Having committees, and a bunch of forms to sign off on, and stamps…Hernando de Soto wrote about systems like this. They strangle business, investment, and growth.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Keynes said that Y=C+I+G. Borrowing money to raise “G” (government spending) will work, I suppose. But the cost to future generations is enormous. I am amazed by the hypocrisy of both sides. John McCain calls the stimulus “intergenerational theft.” Well, he’s right, but he came late to this wisdom. The Republicans have been just pouring out new deficit spending since 2002.

And then Obama says he doesn’t want to do tired old ideas, and failed economics. But he is doingexactly what the Republicans did: huge deficit-financed spending on largely useless or irrelevant programs designed to reward political friends. The only thing that’s different is the identity of the “friends.”

So, some of the spending may increase measured GDP slightly for 2009. But the price is increased inflationary pressures in 2010, and the squandering of the birthright of our children for decades.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

This makes me furious. Doing nothing is not an option—anymore. Because first President Bush, and now President Obama, have engaged in a completely irresponsible fear campaign. “We must do something, or you should cower in helpless fear, behind locked doors, in darkened rooms!” Presidents should not use this kind of fear as a weapon to pass their pet projects. Roosevelt, for all his flaws, got it right: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Well, not quite right: it turns out we need to fear fear itself, and also President Obama.

The sensible thing to do at this point would be to make an offer, at 40 cents on the dollar, for the “toxic” assets, both the collaterlized debt obligations packaged by Freddy and Fannie, and also the credit default swap “insurance” derivatives sold by AIG (and some other firms, but mostly AIG). Since AIG wrote so many “naked” CDSs, even for people who don’t own the underlying, or “insured” asset, they are going to keep hemorrhaging until someone puts a floor on the value of the assets.

So, a one-time, take it or leave it, offer. One big reason that credit markets are frozen is the uncertainty created by Treasury indecision and vagueness. Asset owners are holding out for a better price, and they are trying to negotiate through the Senate, not the Treasury. Obama needs to lead here, and say, “Take this partial buyout, or hang on to the asset at your peril. There is no better deal coming tomorrow.”

Michael C. Munger is professor of economics and chair of the department of political science at Duke University.
William A. Niskanen

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

Nothing in the package increases the incentive to work, save, invest, or increase productivity. Any spending stimulus should be limited to increasing the demand for housing, in order to increase the value of the mortgage-backed securities that are limiting the ability of the banks to lend.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

No. Almost all of the tax cuts are welfare payments channeled through the tax system, not reductions in marginal rates.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

No fiscal stimulus program is a viable option. Use monetary policy to stimulate demand. Consider an optional fiscal stimulus plan consisting only of selective marginal tax rate cuts and a temporary subsidy to increase the demand for housing.

William A. Niskanen is chairman emeritus and a distinguished senior economist at the Cato Institute.

Johan Norberg

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The biggest problem is that it destroys savings by using them on projects that the majority did not think were reasonable a year ago. We take capital that would have been available to companies and poorer countries and use it to create a stimulus that will have its largest impact after the economy has already turned the corner—so that it will contribute to another round of boom and bust.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

That depends on what the meaning of “works” is. The tax credit will work. Not as they intended it, though. But it gives people more money, which they will save because they can see that the government is building up a huge deficit that they will be forced to pay for in the future. And then those savings will come in handy.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

No. Every single crisis in the last 100 years shows that doing nothing would have been preferable to doing bad things. But he is right that it is not an option in the current political climate. Now what applies is the politicians’ logic from Yes, Prime Minister: “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore it must be done.”

Johan Norberg is a Swedish author and historian of ideas, and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is currently writing a book on the financial crisis.
Mark Perry

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

There are many problems with the stimulus package, but there are several that stand out. First, like all fiscal stimulus packages in the past, the current one will not impact the economy at the right time for the intended stimulus effect, due to the inevitable problems of long lags. Much of the intended expansionary fiscal effects won’t happen until next year and even 2011, and it’s likely the economy will have recovered sufficiently by then so that the fiscal stimulus will be unnecessary, and might actually be destabilizing. Second, the fiscal stimulus has to be paid for eventually in the form of higher taxes, which will have a negative economic effect in the future, i.e. the “fiscal child abuse” effect. That is, any positive short-term effects of this stimulus package will be more than offset by future negative effects in the form of reduced future economic growth, decreased investments, and lower incomes. 

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

The fiscal stimulus will work only in the sense that it will serve to stimulate the approval ratings of the President and other politicians.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

No. The market economy has an underappreciated, but amazing ability to correct and reverse economic imbalances and problems on its own, and that economic self-correcting resiliency works best in the absence of government interference. 

Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.

via The Reason.com Stimulus Symposium: Leading economists sound off on the $800 billion stimulus package – Reason Magazine.

Glenn Beck on Obama’s ‘Change’: Socialism

Change You Can Believe In

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Washington Post Publishes Obama’s Fear Mongering Editorial

In another lame attempt to convince the people of the United States to blindly accept his $900+ billion stimulus, Obama publishes an editorial in the Washington Post. He says nothing new in this editorial, the only purpose of this is to spread the fear to as many readers as possible.

This administration is using fear to push forward it’s socialist agenda and political pork barrel.

America, contact you congressional representatives and demand they reject this eater of planets. Tell them to formulate a responsible package that will boost our economy not nationalize it.

Change You Can Believe In!

By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We’ve seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker — and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

Now is the time to protect health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years, saving billions of dollars and countless lives in the process.

Now is the time to save billions by making 2 million homes and 75 percent of federal buildings more energy-efficient, and to double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy within three years.

Now is the time to give our children every advantage they need to compete by upgrading 10,000 schools with state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries and labs; by training our teachers in math and science; and by bringing the dream of a college education within reach for millions of Americans.

And now is the time to create the jobs that remake America for the 21st century by rebuilding aging roads, bridges and levees; designing a smart electrical grid; and connecting every corner of the country to the information superhighway.

These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay. They’re patient enough to know that our economic recovery will be measured in years, not months. But they have no patience for the same old partisan gridlock that stands in the way of action while our economy continues to slide.

So we have a choice to make. We can once again let Washington’s bad habits stand in the way of progress. Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn’t written for us but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles, and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship. We can act boldly to turn crisis into opportunity and, together, write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time.

via Barack Obama – The Action Americans Need – washingtonpost.com.

“Liberals don’t mind if the tax rate goes up because they’re not going to pay it anyway”

This is the quote of the year… So true

During our interview today on “This Week” I asked Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., of the joint economic committee whether ABC News’ report this week that President Obama’s pick for health and human services secretary had to pay about $128,000 in back taxes could disqualify him from the job.

“It may be,” DeMint told me.

“I want to find out more about it. But it’s disheartening, obviously. I mean people are struggling to pay taxes on a very small amount of income,” DeMint said.

“I can see now why liberals don’t mind if the tax rate goes up because they’re not going to pay it anyway. So, yeah it frustrates me. It did with our treasury nominee. But we need to look at it and I wish they would just say, ‘hey, our tax code is just incomprehensible. We need to change it.'”

via George’s Bottom Line.

Stimulus Package Gives Illegal Immigrants Tax Credits

That’s right folks, on top of the pork filled stimulus package, there is nothing preventing illegal aliens from getting the tax credit as well… 

Change You Can Believe In!

WASHINGTON (AP) – The $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday.

The legislation, which would send tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple, expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens, but it would allow people who don’t have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the checks.

Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits.

A revolt among GOP conservatives to similar provisions of a 2008 economic stimulus bill, which sent rebate checks to most wage earners, forced Democratic congressional leaders to add stricter eligibility requirements. That legislation, enacted in February 2008, required that people have valid Social Security numbers in order to get checks.

The GOP official voiced concerns about the latest economic aid measure on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Republicans have already blasted the package for including what they argue is wasteful spending and omitting tax cuts for wealthier people and businesses they say are needed to jump-start the anemic economy.

Not a single Republican voted for an $819 billion version of the plan when it passed the House on Wednesday.

GOP senators arranged a midday news conference to voice their concerns.

via Hill Republican: Stimulus aids illegal immigrants.

Another TARP Handout Recipient Gets White House Appointment

Yet another money grubber, Neal Wolin, has been hand picked by Obama to be his chief counsel for economic affairs…

American’s still asleep from Obamamania coma… Obama loading up government with more thieves…

More conflicts of interest, especial considering Obama is planning on nationalizing the banking industry in the near future…

Change You Can Believe In!

Wasn’t this supposed to be the start of an era of competence and freedom from conflicts of interest in government?  After appointing lobbyists William Lynn and Mark Patterson to positions that they would have lobbied prior to their appointments, Obama has named a financial-service executive that applied for a bailout to be his deputy counsel on economic affairs:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday named a politically connected top executive of a financial services company that’s seeking federal bailout money to be his chief legal counsel on the economy, a move raising ethical concerns with watchdog organizations and casting a shadow on Obama’s campaign theme of change.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Obama said he appointed Neal Wolin, division president of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., to become his deputy White House counsel for economic affairs. That makes Wolin the top legal adviser on economic issues.

The Hartford in mid-November purchased a Sanford, Fla., thrift — Federal Trust Bank — a move that allowed it to seek as much as $3.4 billion in Wall Street bailout money. On Nov. 14, it applied to become a thrift holding company entitled to between $1.1 billion and $3.4 billion in funds under the much-maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Patterson also worked for a bailed-out firm, the massively politically connected Goldman Sachs.  Now we get another executive from a politically-connected firm, and not even one that’s successful.  If we had to bail out Goldman Sachs and Hartford, it doesn’t exactly speak well of their economic acumen.  Why do we keep picking people from firms that couldn’t stand on their own?

Obama has started to worry some of the Hopier-and-Changier crowd with his serial violations of his own ethics rules.  This makes the third questionable appointment in nine days, transforming Obama’s violations of at least the spirit of his own ethics rules a pattern and not exceptions.  It’s not just the bailout, either.  Hartford also has lobbied on insurance regulation policy, pushing hard against the federal control that Obama promised in his campaign. CREW and other watchdogs have become restless, and it’s only the second week of the new administration.

Obama’s ethics policy would require Wolin to recuse himself on both the bailout and on insurance regulation, which makes people wonder what exactly Wolin would do as economic counsel.  Clip coupons?  Appointing Wolin, Patterson, and Lynn makes a mockery out of Obama’s vaunted ethics “reforms”, and also of his pledge to find the best and brightest to serve in Washington.

via Hot Air » Blog Archive » Obama appoints another bailout piggy to economic post.