Thursday, January 29, 2009

Economics & Politics

I've been under the weather all week, so excuse the lack of real content...

For the dozen or so people besides me that read this blog and actually care about such things, here are some sharp pieces on the economy and political landscape:
  • Rush Limbaugh pens a rather funny but quite intriguing alternative, offering President Obama a compromise: The Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan 2009.
  • A WSJ editorial notes that barely $100 billion of the nearly $1 trillion in spending suggested by Obama has even a likelihood of stimulating the economy; the rest is a 40-year wish list for Democratic Party supporters. Quite mind-boggling to see where the money is going, when all you hear about in the news is the $30 billion for bridges and highways.
  • Dick Morris argues that Obama will have moved us toward socialism - even if he's voted out in 2012 - in irreversible ways.
  • An interesting (and eye-opening) take on the Bush economy - what was good and what mistakes were made.
  • A fascinating Q&A with a former White House economist on Freakonomics, with this piece the most important one to me (as we see it in areas besides economics):
    Q: What are some of the most absurd economic assumptions Washington politicians are guilty of making, and that you’ve had to “advise” against in your position?

    A: That’s a fantastic question, and it gets at a nefarious tactic by some advocates: they try to skew the “baseline” assumptions to make their proposed policy changes look more reasonable.
    Read it all, it's very telling.


  1. Rush Limbaugh pens a rather funny but quite intriguing alternative, offering President Obama a compromise: The Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan 2009.

    The existing plan already is a compromise. Obama preemptively included $275 billion (only slightly less than Limbaugh's proposed 46%) in tax cuts (upsetting many Democrats and most liberals) to placate the Republicans, but got zero Republican votes in return. It may turn out to be Obama's biggest mistake.

    I don't think the Republicans are interested in compromise, or even in stimulating the economy. They're a one-trick pony, economically: cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes.

    Obviously, they're going to argue that tax cuts are the best way to stimulate the economy. They also argued that tax cuts were the way to go when the economy was going great. The facts on the ground are irrelevant. In any situation, the answer is tax cuts.


    Meanwhile, it’s clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts — and therefore costs less per job created (see the previous fraudulent argument) — because a large fraction of any tax cut will simply be saved.

    This suggests that public spending rather than tax cuts should be the core of any stimulus plan. But rather than accept that implication, conservatives take refuge in a nonsensical argument against public spending in general.

  2. RaggedyDad will thoroughly enjoy the links and any subsequent analyses. As for me - it's like in Peanuts when the teacher just sounds like "Wah wah wah . . . "