One problem with the stimulus bill is that it is so diffuse, so poorly understood, and so impossible to measure, that it will allow its supporters to claim anything about its effects. If no one knows what is in it, how do you measure effectiveness? Long recession? Those dang Republicans slowed the bill and kept the size too low. End of 2009 recovery? It’s because of the stimulus bill (never mind that the money will not have even really been spent). So, in the interests of setting a reasonable baseline, here is the pre-stimulus economic projections:
He then includes a comparison of ecnomic indicators now and in the early 1980s:
Back then, we responded with tax cuts and a focus by the President on reducing the size of government. Twenty-five years of prosperity followed. Today we are responding with a trillion dollars of money for government bureaucrats, increases in welfare, and pork for favored corporations. I am not hugely confident.
So the question, when evaluating the effectiveness of the stimulus package, is not whether the indicators go up, but whether the uptick exceeds that which the Philadelphia Federal Reserve predicted without any government action at all.
Once again, this disclaimer: I am not advocating a policy of complete government inaction (and if you want to know what I have advocated, go back and read it), but I am advocating for a bit more sophisticated dialogue over economics and modeling than we are currently being treated to by the likes of Paul Krugman and many of our liberal/progressive friends.