Is The Stimulus Working?

Dutifully fulfilling it’s role as chief propagandist for the State, today’s New York Times declares that 

It is clearly too soon to know for sure. But the evidence is now pointing pretty strongly in one direction: history books may conclude that the financial crisis of 2008 turned out to be far less bad than it could have been and that Washington deserved much of the credit. 

That statement belongs on the editorial page, not the front page and it is clearly irresponsible journalism, if it is journalism at all.  It is so full of bias and personal judgments that I am surprised even the Times printed it.

The bulk of the article simply recounts statistics indicating that the worst of the recession might be over.  In the last few column inches it tots up the jobs in the auto, health and state and local governments that the stimulus has supposedly created. It’s quite probable that many of these jobs came about directly because of stimulus money.  And it’s a great thing that some people will have some money they wouldn’t otherwise have. But suggesting that this proves the stimulus is working, or that the government has done something good doesn’t even begin to follow logically.

I will grant that the stimulus created some jobs that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.  But how many did it destroy in the process?  Moving money from one place to another can’t actually create wealth unless you move it from a less productive place to a more productive place. The government has successfully moved ( or begun to move) a couple of trillion dollars from one place to another but there is no proof it’s creating any wealth.  Its just giving it to people the politicians think will reward them with votes and taking it from people the politicians think wouldn’t ever vote for them anyway or who are too clueless to realize they have been swindled.   The people who would never vote for the current ruling class would be conservative and libertarian tax payers and of course future generations.  The clueless class? – Well that’s where the New York Times comes in.   Let’s take the same people who created what is possibly the worst economic crisis since at least the Great Depression (remember Obama was in the same Senate that helped create this crisis) wait till the crisis seems to have run it’s course (if it has) and then credit them with saving us.

For the Times article to be anything less than pure propaganda it would have to show that:

1. these guys didn’t cause the problem

2. their actions improved the short term situation

3. their actions didn’t hurt us in the long run.

4. they have the right to take from one person and give to another.

While they might have a long shot chance at number 2, they don’t even attempt the other three. 

The auto industry is a great example.  I remember being a kid in the ’60s hearing the news about Johnson administration controls on imports of small fuel efficient European cars.  Fast forward half a century to a failed auto industry, war in the middle east and a huge argument about global warming.  Does bailing about the auto industry REALLY HELP US?  All it does is stop some short term bleeding – which MIGHT be ok in the short run.  But it solves nothing.  

How many jobs do you think didn’t happen because the government injected so much fear and uncertainty into the economy? How many jobs will tax increases destroy?  How many productive jobs in the private sector will be displaced by moving the money from taxpayers to counterproductive governments?

So before we start handing out credit to the guys that created the problem let’s think about the costs of their actions, not just the short-run superficial benefits.  But of course then the Times wouldn’t be doing their job as part of the statist propaganda machine.

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