Archive for the ‘Stimulus’ Category

Job loss numbers in graphic form

job growth numbers as of June 2010

Veronique de Rugy posted this graphic at National Review Online. Notice her source is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks actual employment numbers rather than guesstimates based on stimulus dollars spent and multipliers (i.e., if we spent X amount of money we must have created Y number of jobs; no need to actually count them!). She cites January 2008 as the beginning of the recession; the Recovery Act, a.k.a. the stimulus, passed in February 2009.

Oh, and the bill for that $862 billion Recovery Act is in the mail.

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Europe lectures Obama on stimulus and debt

After 16 months and hundreds of billions in debt-financed “stimulus” spending, President Barack Obama is still pushing for more public borrowing to prop up demand, both here and abroad.

Writing to other national leaders ahead of this weekend’s G-20 meeting in Toronto, Obama called for “unity of purpose to provide the policy support necessary to keep economic growth strong.”

Translation: Spend, baby, spend.

But fewer and fewer people are buying it this time.

In Britain, the new government reburied Keynes last week, choosing budget austerity over further stimulus. Germany rebuffed Obama’s requests to keep priming the pump (link requires subscription). The European Union’s economic affairs chief wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he “cannot but disagree” with the push for more deficit spending.

Getting debt lectures from Europe, the continent that already has brought us the Greek bailout and riots? That’s like leaving it to Lindsay Lohan to tell you to lay off the sauce …

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Green jobs: Billions for something we’ll define later

The Obama administration isn’t quite sure what a “green job” is, but it sure wants more of them! From the Washington Examiner’s Byron York:

Buried deep inside a federal newsletter on March 16 was something called a “notice of solicitation of comments” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor.

“BLS is responsible for developing and implementing the collection of new data on green jobs,” said the note in the Federal Register, which is widely read by government bureaucrats and almost never seen by the general public. But the notice said there is “no widely accepted standard definition of ‘green jobs.’” To help find that definition, the Labor Department asked that readers send in suggestions.

The notice came only after the department scoured studies from government, academia, and business in search of a definition. “The common thread through the studies and discussions is that green jobs are jobs related to preserving or restoring the environment,” the notice …

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All you need to know about CBO estimates of stimulus effects

The Congressional Budget Office says the $862 billion stimulus package already has “increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million,” among other things.

Hurray! Right?

The CBO’s director, Douglas Elmendorf, explained this back in March, but it’s worth revisiting now. When the CBO says the stimulus did this or that, it presents as “evidence” the very same economic models that were used to predict the effects of the stimulus before it was even passed. Put another way, here is all the CBO is saying:

  1. The models say that spending X amount of money will create Y number of jobs.
  2. We’ve spent X amount of money.
  3. Therefore, we must have created Y number of jobs.

In other words, the models haven’t changed, so we will assume that the stimulus worked as intended.

The CBO is not measuring outputs. The feds’ accountability website for the stimulus, Recovery.gov, attempts to do that and finds fewer than 700,000 jobs created, as reported by fund recipients …

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Obama’s new stimulus bill

The U.S. House is due to take up a new $190 billion spending bill this week, and they had to put seven words in the title to avoid using the S-word. Instead of another stimulus, we are getting the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. Because, you know, tax loopholes are the reason the economy is stuck in neutral.

Keith Hennessey has a better name for it: The Hypocrisy Act of 2010, because it violates the ruling Democrats’ ballyhooed pay-as-you-go rules by adding $134 billion to the deficit. How do they justify this violation? House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D., Mich.) says the deficit spending comes from “emergency provisions.”

So, it’s been 15 months since the passage of the big stimulus bill, which has since been increased by $75 billion to a total of $862 billion and which, to hear Democrats tell it, has been a great big success. Yet, we’re still talking about “emergency” deficit spending in a single bill that nearly equals the entire federal deficit for …

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ObamaCare: $2 trillion, or 2.5 ’stimulus’ bills

To show you how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone, Democrats were pleased yesterday when the Congressional Budget Office gave the two ObamaCare bills — the Senate bill plus the “reconciliation” bill the House would use to “fix” it — a combined cost of “only” $940,000,000,000 over 10 years (see page 8). But as you already know if you’ve been paying attention to this blog, there’s more here than the headline number suggests.

First, as the Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson points out, CBO begins the 10-year clock in 2010. What year is it right now? Oh yes, 2010. When did the 2010 budget year begin? Oh yes, Oct. 1, 2009 — more than five months ago.

Granted, this is not an unusual CBO convention. But it is a special case because the vast majority of the new ObamaCare expenditures don’t kick in for four more years — which is unusual for a piece of legislation. So, the inclusion of a cheap year rather than a full-price year makes a huge difference in the cost estimate.

For the …

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Obama’s $8.6 trillion in deficits: Only a low-ball estimate

Anyone trying to claim a fiscal equivalence between the Bush era and the Obama era needs to review the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office.

In its recent budget report, the White House forecast budget deficits totaling $8.6 trillion over the next decade. To keep that in perspective, the total public debt held by the end of 2009 — that is, by the end of George W. Bush’s last budget — was $7.5 trillion.

projected_deficit

Graph originally posted at gregmankiw.blogspot.com

CBO, however, says even that mind-boggling projection is too low. In fact, the nonpartisan budget crunchers estimate, the cumulative deficit from 2010-2020 will be $9.8 trillion. That’s a difference of $1.2 trillion, as illustrated to the left (the graph comes from Greg Mankiw).

How much is $1.2 trillion? It’s roughly the same as the combined deficits of Bush’s first four years in office. And remember, we’re only talking about the “extra” amount of total deficits in the decade to come.

But as bad as a $1.2 trillion …

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Obama in Georgia, pitching ‘Cash for Caulkers’

The 44th president makes his first visit to Georgia today, touring Savannah Technical College and giving a speech there this afternoon. The focus of the speech will be new government incentives for homeowners to improve energy efficiency.

The energy efficiency program is being done under the guise of economic stimulus, even if the S-word has been banished from Democrats’ lexicon (which seems strange, considering they’re always telling us about the success of their $862 billion stimulus package last year). And that raises an important point.

The government may want to promote home energy efficiency on its own merits, perhaps for environmental reasons. If so, it should decide how much efficiency it wants to gain, decide the program’s length and cost on that basis, and sell the program to the public on those terms. (Which isn’t to say that we necessarily should buy it.)

What we have instead is an alleged “jobs” program — the J-word is more fashionable in Washington — that focuses …

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