Agreeing with Barney Frank twice in two months? Don’t worry, the Massachusetts Democrat wasn’t right about everything in his interview with Fox Business Network yesterday. But he did finally acknowledge what has been obvious to everyone outside the Democratic Party for some time now (starting at the 3:37 mark):
Here’s a transcript of the relevant part of the exchange:
President Obama, whom I greatly admire … here’s the mistake he made. When the economic recovery bill — we’re supposed to call it the recovery bill, not the stimulus bill; that’s what the focus-group people tell us — with the economic recovery bill, he predicted, or his aides predicted at the time, that if it passed, unemployment would get below 8 percent. That was a dumb thing to do. In the first place, nobody knows. In the second place, what they should have said is, if we pass it, it’ll be better than if we don’t pass it. (emphasis added)
But what about the supposed reliability of the Keynesian models Obama’s economic advisers used then — and still use now to assure us that the money that was spent really did work?
We all know why the Obama team put out that “dumb” counterfactual about what unemployment would do absent the stimulus — because otherwise, too few people were willing to believe that borrowing and spending $787 billion (now bumped up to $862 billion) was such a great idea. Now that the prediction has proven not just politically dumb but substantially wrong, why should we believe the new counterfactuals, based on the same models, being put out to convince us that the stimulus really did work — and that what we really need is more borrow-and-spend stimulus?
Isn’t that a little dumb, too?