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Taco John
08-22-2009, 10:15 AM
Why the Stimulus Flopped

By Mark Steyn

The other day, wending my way from Woodsville, N.H., 40 miles south to Plymouth, I came across several “stimulus” projects — every few miles, and heralded by a two-tone sign, a hitherto rare sight on Granite State highways. The orange strip at the top said “PUTTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK” with a silhouette of a man with a shovel, and the green part underneath informed you that what you were about to see was a “PROJECT FUNDED BY THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT.” There then followed a few yards of desolate, abandoned, scarified pavement, followed by an “END OF ROAD WORKS” sign, until the next “stimulus” project a couple of bends down a quiet rural blacktop.

I don’t know why one of the least fiscally debauched states in the Union needs funds from “the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” to repair random stretches of highway, especially stretches that were perfectly fine until someone came along to dig them up in order to access “stimulus” funding. I would have asked one of those men with a shovel, as depicted on the sign, but there were none to be found. Usually in New Hampshire, they dig up the road, and re-grade or repave it, while the flagmen stand guard until it’s all done. But here a certain federal torpor seemed to hang in the eerie silence.

Still, what do I know? Evidently, it’s stimulated the sign-making industry, putting America back to work by putting up “PUTTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK” signs every 200 yards across the land. And at 300 bucks a pop, the signage alone should be enough to launch an era of unparalleled prosperity, assuming America’s gilded sign magnates don’t spend their newfound wealth on Bahamian vacations and European imports. Perhaps if the president were to have his All-Seeing O logo lovingly hand-painted onto each sign, it would stimulate the economy even more, if only when they were taken down and auctioned on eBay.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, India, China, Japan, and much of continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn’t afford it. They did not invest in the critical signage-in-front-of-holes-in-the-road sector. And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world’s biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain, and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can’t compete with Obama’s $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet.

Actually, when I say “to less effect,” that’s not strictly true: Thanks to Obama, one of the least indebted developed nations is now one of the most indebted — and getting ever more so. We’ve become the third most debt-ridden country after Japan and Italy. According to last month’s IMF report, general government debt as a percentage of GDP will rise from 63 percent in 2007 to 88.8 percent this year and to 99.8 percent of GDP next year.

Of course, the president retains his formidable political skills, artfully distracting attention from his stimulus debacle with his health-care debacle. But there are diminishing returns to his serial thousand-page trillion-dollar boondoggles. They may be too long for your representatives to bother reading before passing into law, but, whatever the intricacies of Section 417(a) xii on page 938, people are beginning to spot what all this stuff has in common: He’s spending your future. And by “future” I don’t mean 2070, 2060, 2040, but the day after tomorrow. Democrats can talk about only raising taxes on “the rich,” but more and more Americans are beginning to figure out what percentage of them will wind up in “the richest 5 percent” before this binge is over. According to Gallup, nearly 70 percent of Americans now expect higher taxes under Obama.

But the silver-tongued salesman sails on. Why be scared of a government health program? After all, says the president, “Medicare is a government program that works really well,” and if “we’re able to get something right like Medicare,” we should have more “confidence” about being able to do it for everyone.

On the other hand, says the president, Medicare is “unsustainable” and “running out of money.”

By the way, unlike your run-of-the-mill politician’s contradictory statements, these weren’t made a year or even a week apart, but during the same presidential speech in Portsmouth, N.H. At any rate, in order to “control costs” Obama says we need to introduce a new trillion-dollar government entitlement. It’s a good thing he’s the smartest president of all time and the greatest orator since Socrates because otherwise one might easily confuse him with some birdbrained Bush type. But, if we take him at his word, then a trillion-dollar public expenditure that “controls costs” presumably means he’s planning on reducing private health expenditure — such as, say, your insurance plan — by at least a trillion. Or he’ll be raising a trillion dollars’ worth of revenue. Either way, under Obama nothing is certain but death panels and taxes — i.e., a vast enervating statism, and the confiscation of the fruits of your labors required to pay for it.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTVlMjkwZmNlNDNhZGYxMDFjMDkyZDRiNDY1ZmQzZWI=

RedNeckRaider
08-22-2009, 10:41 AM
The money has got come from somewhere and you can bet your ass it is going to be taxes

***SPRAYER
08-22-2009, 10:44 AM
Democrats can talk about only raising taxes on “the rich,” but more and more Americans are beginning to figure out what percentage of them will wind up in “the richest 5 percent” before this binge is over. According to Gallup, nearly 70 percent of Americans now expect higher taxes under Obama.

Just in time for all the kOZ kids to graduate college.

ROFL

SUCKERS!

KC native
08-23-2009, 12:18 PM
Why the Stimulus Flopped

By Mark Steyn



Meanwhile, in Brazil, India, China, Japan, and much of continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn’t afford it. They did not invest in the critical signage-in-front-of-holes-in-the-road sector. And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world’s biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain, and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can’t compete with Obama’s $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTVlMjkwZmNlNDNhZGYxMDFjMDkyZDRiNDY1ZmQzZWI=

Hard to take anything the guy writes seriously when he can't even get his facts straight.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/27/germany-europe
Germany approves €50bn stimulus package

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved a €50bn (£46.7bn) stimulus package today, the biggest programme in Europe, to tackle overcome the country's deepest economic crisis since the second world war.

The package will require a new borrowing level of €36.8bn, more than twice the amount planned for 2009 before the impact of the global crisis on Europe's largest economy was realised. It is also more than three times the amount forecast in the middle of last year. A controversial draft supplementary budget is planned to cover the leap in borrowing.

The programme is equivalent to 1.6% of gross domestic product, and is the biggest of its kind in German history. In the UK, the government unveiled fiscal stimulus measures totalling some £20bn in last year's pre-budget report.

France unveils stimulus package

France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon has unveiled a series of measures worth 26bn euros ($33.1bn; £23.5bn) designed to "revitalise" the French economy.

He called for an "urgent national mobilisation" across 1,000 work sites to combat the economic crisis.

The package includes 11bn euros to help businesses and 4bn euros to improve infrastructure and public services.

Earlier on Monday, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said France would enter recession "at some point".

Production 'collapse'

The French stimulus plan is split into three parts: 11bn euros to help businesses improve their cashflows; 11bn euros of direct state investment; and 4bn euros of investment by state-owned firms for modernising rail infrastructure, energy and the postal service.

“ I'd be very surprised if we have positive [economic] growth in 2009 ”
Christine Lagarde
French Finance Minister

The government expects that the stimulus package will produce economic growth of around 1.3%.

But Ms Lagarde said this would not be enough to offset the impact of the global downturn this year.

"I'd be very surprised if we have positive [economic] growth in 2009," she said.

The IMF has forecast a contraction in the French economy of 1.9% this year.

Speaking before details of the package were released, Ms Lagarde also said that official figures out later on Monday would show an increase in unemployment of about 45,000 workers in December last year.

She also referred to an "unheard of collapse in industrial production, especially in November and December".

But figures released on Monday showed that manufacturing output in France, along with that in the eurozone as a whole, contracted at a slower rate in January than it did in December.

This has led some analysts to believe that the economic downturn may be easing.

Last week, mass demonstrations broke out as the French vented their displeasure over the government's handling of the economic crisis.
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/7864942.stm

Velvet_Jones
08-23-2009, 02:30 PM
Dems logic (1 + 2) = chair.

They are just stupid ignorant blowhards.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 02:35 PM
Hard to take anything the guy writes seriously when he can't even get his facts straight.

That's uh . . . uh, "not worth speaking of."

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 02:38 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8198766.stm

The French and German economies both grew by 0.3% between April and June, bringing to an end year-long recessions in Europe's largest economies.

Stronger exports and consumer spending, as well as government stimulus packages, contributed to the growth.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 02:45 PM
They did not invest in the critical signage-in-front-of-holes-in-the-road sector.

Instead,

All told, Paris has set aside 100 million euros in stimulus funds earmarked for what the French like to call their cultural patrimony. It is a French twist on how to overcome the global downturn, spending borrowed money avidly to beautify the nation even as it also races ahead of the United States in more classic Keynesian ways: fixing potholes, upgrading railroads and pursuing other “shovel ready” projects.

It takes a while for the funds to trickle down, Taco. We haven't spent much of it at all yet. Saying the stimulus flopped is like saying the Orton trade didn't work out well for the Broncos. (Edited because of rudeness. I'm sorry about that)

Horrible article. really. The guy spends almost half of it amusing himself with his thoughts on road signs (he would have loved the New Deal posters), and when he finally gets to his point, he blows it with inaccuracies, and moves to another topic. Worthless. Of course, Velvet Jones thinks it's mind blowing.

Saul Good
08-23-2009, 03:57 PM
Hard to take anything the guy writes seriously when he can't even get his facts straight.

Those are a drop in the bucket compared to Obama's.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 03:59 PM
Those are a drop in the bucket compared to Obama's.

Because our GDPs are nearly identical.

Saul Good
08-23-2009, 04:02 PM
Because our GDPs are nearly identical.

Our stimulus was triple the size of theirs even after allowing for the difference in GDP. I'm sorry that you are bad at math.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 04:05 PM
Our stimulus was triple the size of theirs even after allowing for the difference in GDP. I'm sorry that you are bad at math.

I'm sorry I'm bad at math, too.

I'll take your word for it on the math. But a third of ours? What kind of drop and what kind of bucket are you using? I'm sorry you're bad at using words to convey ideas.

A third of ours? I hope I'm right on that math. That's "no stimulus package worth noting"?

wild1
08-23-2009, 04:10 PM
Who needs real jobs, we can just tax the companies who create jobs into oblivion, and put everyone to work shoveling hot asphalt into potholes!

Saul Good
08-23-2009, 04:13 PM
It's a fraction of the size of ours however you look at it. Whether or not it's "worth noting" is a matter of semantics. The bottom line is that their economies have already turned the corner. Ours is still in the toilet.

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 04:13 PM
Who needs real jobs, we can just tax the companies who create jobs into oblivion, and put everyone to work shoveling hot asphalt into potholes!

Are you referring to the $50 billion + tax cuts for companies in the bill?

Jenson71
08-23-2009, 04:16 PM
It's a fraction of the size of ours however you look at it. Whether or not it's "worth noting" is a matter of semantics. The bottom line is that their economies have already turned the corner. Ours is still in the toilet.

99/100 is a fraction too, but that doesn't seem like a 'drop in bucket'. "Worth noting" is a matter of semantics? The article is downright dishonest.

Hey, isn't there a lot of regulation in France and Germany (if I recall, that was one of the major disagreements at the G-20 London). You wanna go down that route, Saul Good? I'm all for it.

cdcox
08-23-2009, 04:22 PM
What's really funny is that only a small fraction of the funds have been spent to date. The spending has barely begun. Declaring the package a failure would be like saying Cassel is a bust after one preseason game.

This is why most political discourse today is completely worthless. It is based far more on the preconceived attitudes of the blabber mouths than on any objective evaluation of the facts.

Chiefshrink
08-23-2009, 04:29 PM
Love Steyn! Great wit and perspective!!

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 04:33 PM
What's really funny is that only a small fraction of the funds have been spent to date. The spending has barely begun. Declaring the package a failure would be like saying Cassel is a bust after one preseason game.

This is why most political discourse today is completely worthless. It is based far more on the preconceived attitudes of the blabber mouths than on any objective evaluation of the facts.

Still shows a certain lack of confidence; that taxes must increase to pay for it all. Many people fear the worst isn't over. We should be pulling out of it by now at least starting to.

banyon
08-23-2009, 05:00 PM
Still shows a certain lack of confidence; that taxes must increase to pay for it all. Many people fear the worst isn't over. We should be pulling out of it by now at least starting to.

Really?

Yeah, but deflation is hurts the rich whereas inflaton hurts the middle-class and poor. It's needed. Things are too high. We're heading to Weimar Republic territory with what's coming.

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=198650&highlight=depression+decade&page=2

The economy is in the early stages of a correction. I say it takes another year to correct without govt intervention. Since we're getting massive govt intervention, I say it will take a decade. Or until the Ds are booted out buy a remade GOP with President Mark Sanford.

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=199491&highlight=bookmarked

Obama must be better than you thought for you to expect and now demand us to recover so quickly now and not be in the Weimar Republic or a decade-long Depression, huh?

Simplex3
08-23-2009, 05:21 PM
What's really funny is that only a small fraction of the funds have been spent to date. The spending has barely begun. Declaring the package a failure would be like saying Cassel is a bust after one preseason game.

I'd be sympathetic to this except I was told by the political class that they had to pass it NOW and so much so that they couldn't spend the time reading the bill.

BucEyedPea
08-23-2009, 05:35 PM
I'd be sympathetic to this except I was told by the political class that they had to pass it NOW and so much so that they couldn't spend the time reading the bill.

Good point. Now who are the real blabbermouths? ;)

Simplex3
08-23-2009, 05:50 PM
Now who are the real blabbermouths? ;)

Politicians. From both parties. If the Republicans were in charge right now they'd be doing the same crap but the groups they were pretending to help would be different.

Saul Good
08-23-2009, 05:52 PM
What's really funny is that only a small fraction of the funds have been spent to date. The spending has barely begun. Declaring the package a failure would be like saying Cassel is a bust after one preseason game.

This is why most political discourse today is completely worthless. It is based far more on the preconceived attitudes of the blabber mouths than on any objective evaluation of the facts.

If, after half the season has gone by, Cassel has been on the bench for most of the season and has only thrown 10 passes, it's safe to assume that things didn't work out. He would only have thrown about 5% of the passes that we would have expected him to throw. That, in and of itself, would make him a failure.

***SPRAYER
09-22-2009, 10:37 AM
CBO says SS will be broke by next year:

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/22/exclusive-cbo-predicts-social-security-cash-deficits-in-2010-11/

RJ
09-22-2009, 11:25 AM
Not to argue the overall point of the article, but is 0.3 % statistically relevant?

***SPRAYER
09-22-2009, 12:02 PM
Not to argue the overall point of the article, but is 0.3 % statistically relevant?

When is the rest supposed to be spent?

RJ
09-22-2009, 12:08 PM
When is the rest supposed to be spent?


Sorry, I was talking about the 0.3 % growth of the French and German economies. I know we're talking big numbers, but I have to wonder if 3/10 of a percent makes for a relevant argument.

KCWolfman
09-22-2009, 12:13 PM
Sorry, I was talking about the 0.3 % growth of the French and German economies. I know we're talking big numbers, but I have to wonder if 3/10 of a percent makes for a relevant argument.

RJ, yup. However, it must be two quarters of positive growth to officially be out of the recession, regardless of the amount.

I don't know the previous quarter's numbers though.

***SPRAYER
09-22-2009, 12:18 PM
Sorry, I was talking about the 0.3 % growth of the French and German economies. I know we're talking big numbers, but I have to wonder if 3/10 of a percent makes for a relevant argument.

I'm sorry as wel, I misunderstood the question.

FishingRod
09-22-2009, 12:25 PM
I'd be sympathetic to this except I was told by the political class that they had to pass it NOW and so much so that they couldn't spend the time reading the bill.

In his best Ed McMahon Voice.

YES! YOU ARE CORRECT SIR!

I didn't like it from day one but to be fair this started as a bipartisan fleecing.

Saul Good
09-22-2009, 08:24 PM
If memory serves, I kept hearing the analogy of putting out a fire by dumping water on it in terms of how the stimulus was supposed to work.

As the story went, you could dump a million gallons of water one gallon of water at a time on a bonfire and never put out the fire. If you dump a thousand gallons at once on the same fire, it would go out. The basic point was that the stimulus had to be huge and hit in a short period of time in order to jolt the economy.

The same people who were touting that analogy are the same ones saying that we shouldn't criticize the stimulus because not enough of it has been spent to make a judgment.

Which is it? You can't have it both ways.

Taco John
09-22-2009, 08:25 PM
If memory serves, I kept hearing the analogy of putting out a fire by dumping water on it in terms of how the stimulus was supposed to work.

As the story went, you could dump a million gallons of water one gallon of water at a time on a bonfire and never put out the fire. If you dump a thousand gallons at once on the same fire, it would go out. The basic point was that the stimulus had to be huge and hit in a short period of time in order to jolt the economy.

The same people who were touting that analogy are the same ones saying that we shouldn't criticize the stimulus because not enough of it has been spent to make a judgment.

Which is it? You can't have it both ways.


A very, very good criticism.

The obvious answer, though, is that government is doling it out. It's unreasonable to expect that if government is involved it's going to be doled out efficiently (or wisely for that matter, but that's a different matter).

***SPRAYER
10-22-2009, 09:03 AM
http://www.obamacountdownwidget.com/test/index.html

BucEyedPea
10-22-2009, 10:41 AM
the stimulus bailed out Wall Street and the Rich. This is why Big Red Robbin' Hood ( wink) likes it so much. He even put up a celebratory thread about his stocks rising.
So much for Obama being for the small guy.

HonestChieffan
10-22-2009, 10:42 AM
TARP may have done that BEP but the stimulus has not. Most of the money has not been spent so it has not done sickum.

BucEyedPea
10-22-2009, 10:55 AM
TARP may have done that BEP but the stimulus has not. Most of the money has not been spent so it has not done sickum.

That does too. It doesn't matter if all of it's been spent. The money does not go into the economy as a universal blanket but it flows into cones. Some cones have money flowing slowly into them others more rapidly. Lobbying goes for who will get money in their areas which create the cones.

Chief Faithful
10-22-2009, 12:32 PM
What's really funny is that only a small fraction of the funds have been spent to date. The spending has barely begun. Declaring the package a failure would be like saying Cassel is a bust after one preseason game.

This is why most political discourse today is completely worthless. It is based far more on the preconceived attitudes of the blabber mouths than on any objective evaluation of the facts.

The fact the majority of the funding was not used when it was needed most is a whole different kind of fail.