The stimulus isn’t working because it is based on faulty economics. Using historical spending data, the Harvard economist Robert Barro and recent Harvard graduate Charles Redlick have shown that in the best case scenario, a dollar of government spending produces much less than a dollar in economic growth—between 40 and 70 cents. They also found that if the government spends $1 and raises taxes to pay for it, the economy will shrink by $1.10. In other words, greater spending financed by tax increases hurts the economy. Even if the tax is applied in the future, taxpayers today adjust their consumption and business owners refrain from hiring based on the expectation of future tax increases, which worsen the economy today.
There are other reasons the stimulus bill has hurt rather than helped the economy. Four of every five jobs reported “created or saved” are government jobs. That’s far from the 90 percent private sector jobs the administration promised. Also, the Department of Education claims it has “created or saved” at least seven jobs for every job “created or saved” by any other agency. In other words, federal stimulus funds have been used to keep teachers on state payrolls. By subsidizing public sector employment, the federal government is getting in the way of addressing the issue of overspending in the states.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I have lefties try to tell me periodically that last year's stimulus bill did work, or perhaps it would have worked better if only we'd spent more. Well, lefties like Harvard, so let's see what these Harvard guys have to say, courtesy of Reason: