If at First You Don’t Succeed, Spend, Spend Again

An economy is like water: It can’t expand unless it has somewhere to go, artificially adding more volume will only cause a limited and temporary upward surge, and the extra must be taken from somewhere else. This is the image that came to mind in response to our Senators’ suggestions that the nation might need another stimulus package:

“The only way we’re going to get the economy out of the slump is to get people back to work and to stabilize housing values,” Reed said in an interview with MSNBC. “I don’t think we should rule out a second stimulus package.”

The strategy on which Reed and Whitehouse wish to double down is to continue adding volume to the economy in the hopes that it will overflow some barrier currently preventing new streams. The problems with chasing that remote possibility are that it floods the extra into an area of the economy that’s pretty well bounded and takes money out of the economy where it can be most productive (eroding soft dams by investment and innovation, one might say).
The move might be advisable if there were clear consensus that the economy is on the cusp of a new field into which to flow — another Internet about to be created, new frontiers to be populated — but that is not currently the case. (Green ain’t it.) Improving roads and other such infrastructure repairs will keep a handful of workers occupied, but when the funding evaporates, so will the jobs.
What Rhode Island’s Senators ought to be declaring — what all leaders ought to be declaring — is the need to pull down those barriers that governments of every tier have erected.

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Tom W
Tom W
11 years ago

I believe that politicians in a certain period in Germany tried the same thing.
It was called the Weimar Republic.
Didn’t turn out too well.
But then, the Weimarites didn’t have the Obamessiah to lead them to the holy land of “affordable, quality universal healthcare” and environmental purity, all paid for with no tax increases on anyone making under 250k a year.

steadman
steadman
11 years ago

I think that comparison does not hold weight under actual historical evidence/real events, and is the act of a man trying to prove his intelligence/grandstand against the current president by alluding to Nazi Germany. If you disagree with his policies (which everyone at somepoint will) fine, you should be outspoken and attack them with reason and explain what solution you think will be best. However, by making such comparisons and being borderline ignorant, you are no better than the radical left 2001-2008 who called bush a fascist and many of the same things you now call obama. It is quite a sight to see the same conservatives who called any attack on Pres.Bush unamerican to then attack the following president in the same manner. If you feel he is wrong on his policies, be outspoken on the right way to solve it!

Tom W
Tom W
11 years ago

1) Hitler arose out of the ashes of the Weimar Republic – so while I’m making allusions to the current administration’s parallels to Weimar, your assertion that I’m comparing Obama to Hitler is misplaced.
That said, Obama, like all collectivists, shares fascist / totalitarian tendencies. Communism, fascism, socialism are all subsets of collectivism, and all subsume the individual (and individual liberties and human rights) under the collective, i.e., the government.
2) One need merely look at the money that Obama / the Democrat Congress and printing and borrowing to see apt comparisons to Weimar (and yes, to a lesser degree this occurred under Bush).
TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars in unfunded liabilities already with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, plus the unfunded pension and OPEB at the federal, state and municipal levels (e.,g. Rhode Island is already technically bankrupt, as is the federal government), and Obama / the Democrats now want to borrow and spend more for “stimulus” AND socialize medicine AND make college education an entitlement AND …
Get out your wheelbarrow, you’re going to need to fill it with devalued dollars in order to buy that loaf of Wonder Bread.

George
George
11 years ago

Though I like the analogy, the Weimar Republic is not the only example avaiable to highlight the dangerous path down which the current administration is leading the nation.
Consider the economic hobbyist Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose economic “planning”, idiotic businsess regulation, random and wreckless spending and monetary tinkering prolonged the great depression for a decade. All throughout the 30’s FDR continued to increase spending, punish business and tax the rich. None of it helped, it all hurt.

steadman
steadman
11 years ago

to address your points tom, 1.) Hitler rose out of the ashes of the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic came into power after WW1 in which Germany faced heavy economic punishments under the Treaty of Versailles. This and other economic factors of the timen caused hyperinflation, leading to rapid anti-semitism due to the involvement of many jews in the banking industry. This rapid anti-semitism allowed for a man such as Hitler (who wasnt a collectivist, more a nationalist) to gain ultimate power and use the jews/communists as scapegoats 2.) While Obama has increased our debt/deficit spending, the parallel is not accurate. We are in a world that shares nothing in common with the world of the mid 20th century. We are still on the bretton woods system (created by nixon), not on a metal standard. The world economic order is nothing like it was then, so comparing the two does little good because its like comparing apples and oranges 3.) Yes, we can look at the obama and democratic congress and see the rapid spending they are doing. As you pointed out, this was also done under Bush. A factual review of actual policies of Reagan will also show that spending in that time was wildly out of control. The Obama Administration is balancing between lowering long term debt and deficit spending in the short term to create stability. Am I in favor of this and do I think this will work? No not necces. but I refuse to attack him as a socialist. Obama does not have totalitarian tendencies, what ACTUAL actions lead you to believe this? Put down the kool-aid. My point is, yes many of your criticisms about spending and the federal government have weight. However, its not true to compare it to the weimar republic or… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
11 years ago

Steadman: >>1.) Hitler rose out of the ashes of the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic came into power after WW1 in which Germany faced heavy economic punishments under the Treaty of Versailles. This and other economic factors of the timen caused hyperinflation, leading to rapid anti-semitism due to the involvement of many jews in the banking industry. This rapid anti-semitism allowed for a man such as Hitler (who wasnt a collectivist, more a nationalist) to gain ultimate power and use the jews/communists as scapegoats Yes. Essentially that’s what I said in response to your first post – Hitler was a product of the Weimar Republic, not the same as. >>2.) While Obama has increased our debt/deficit spending, the parallel is not accurate. We are in a world that shares nothing in common with the world of the mid 20th century. We are still on the bretton woods system (created by nixon), not on a metal standard. The world economic order is nothing like it was then, so comparing the two does little good because its like comparing apples and oranges Nixon took us off of the Bretton Woods system (created under Truman as I recall). We are no longer operating under fixed exchange rates or a full or partial gold standard. We are now on a fiat currency standard. Yes the world and economics have changed, but not that much. Economics is largely the commercial application of human nature. As someone observed, history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes. Weimar’s hyperinflation was primarily caused by the WWI reparations mandated by the Treaty of Versailles; wiping out the German middle class and setting the stage for the rise of the Nazi version of fascism. Our hyperinflation will be caused by the FDR commenced transformation of the federal government into a wealth redistribution… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
11 years ago

George,
FDR and Wilson should be burning in hell. FDR in particular effectively trashed the Constitution of the United States, injecting the “democratic socialism” virus into the American body politic.
We’ve never recovered.
Now I fear that Obama will inject the final and fatal dose, causing the demise of the United States as it was established under the Declaration of Independence and codified under the Constitution.
The documents will still be there, and we’ll still celebrate Independence Day, which will come just days after tax freedom day, marking the end (for that year) of our forced labors to feed the collective of public sector employees, welfare recipients and union bosses.

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

Really? Then why I am I forced to pay for welfare and social security? Why does Obama want the government to take over health care, to be paid for with my taxes?
This is it. All the rest of the crap that you wrote only confirms that your grasp of history is seriously flawed. Those questions of yours goes to the heart of your reactionary political outlook…one of selfishness.

Tom W
Tom W
11 years ago

>>This is it. All the rest of the crap that you wrote only confirms that your grasp of history is seriously flawed.
A Pat Crowley like rebuttal – a conclusion devoid of facts to substantiate the conclusion.
>>Those questions of yours goes to the heart of your reactionary political outlook…one of selfishness.
Apparently, to your way of thinking, a presumption that anyone of sound mind and body should be working and self-supporting is selfish.
Apparently, to your way of thinking, a presumption that one should not have children that one cannot afford to support is selfish.
Apparently, to your way of thinking, a presumption that one should stay in school and graduate so as to be able to work and be self-sufficient is selfish.
Yes, if after working since I was fifteen, and having done without in order to attend college and then graduate school (deferred gratification), in order to get a degree and through honest work I could work my way up and eventually achieve upper middle class status and put away money for my retirement …
… only once there to find myself having multiple double digits taken from my income in order to provide housing and food stamps to young high school dropouts producing litters of illegitimate babies …
… and health care for them all
… and health care for illegal aliens
… and health care and food stamps and education for their anchor babies …
Means that I’m selfish, then yes I am. And proudly so. For my kind of selfishness used to be called a work ethic and pursuing the American Dream and is what made this country the greatest and most prosperous in the world.

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

Big [snip] deal
Do you think you are the only one whose worked. You are a self important clown. If there were musical accompaniment to those long winded comments of yours then violins would have began at..
“Yes, if after working since I was fifteen”
and then we would hear french horns and rolling drums for…
“Means that I’m selfish, then yes I am. And proudly so. For my kind of selfishness used to be called a work ethic and pursuing the American Dream and is what made this country the greatest and most prosperous in the world.”
I am holding up one finger in a salute to the selfish Tom Wah Wah.
Sorry for the [snip] expletive. I used it for effect.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“the nation might need another stimulus package”
No. For a couple of important reasons -questionable efficacy and cost – another stimulus package is definitely not needed.
In fact, this would be a really bad idea.

Tom W
Tom W
11 years ago

>I am holding up one finger in a salute to the selfish Tom Wah Wah.
Cogent, articulate and”on point” response Phil.
Meanwhile I’m supposed to “wah wah” for all of the parasites who can’t be bothered to help themselves, won’t keep their legs crossed … and then revel in my enlightenment and moral superiority in being glad that a big hunk of the fruits of my labors is extracted and (to use Obama’s phrase) “spread around.” Is that it?
Your compassion and enlightenment is, to most sentient beings, being made a sucker.

steadman
steadman
11 years ago

Tom W, I miswrote in regards to bretton woods, but my point still remains even in my error. Your comment of – “Yes the world and economics have changed, but not that much. Economics is largely the commercial application of human nature. As someone observed, history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes” I disagree on almost all fronts here. They have changed very much so. By taking our currency off standards allows for more of our economy to be based on speculation, the ability to create more debts, and hide the impact of deficit spending. In regards to the economy being a commercial application of human nature, wouldn’t there have to be an agreed upon human nature? if i take your comment to mean liberalism/individualism, then i can see where your coming from. However, i wouldn’t use human nature because if we largely view human nature as a religious/moral issue, then the free market would stand in opposition to it (i know that comment won’t sit well with many conservatives, but explored in depth I believe it to be accurate). As for the obama socialist issue, I believe we differ along semantic lines. The words socialist is an easy one to throw without defining it, and cherrypicking examples to fit that mode. In response to your last point ” Really? Then why I am I forced to pay for welfare and social security? Why does Obama want the government to take over health care, to be paid for with my taxes? Taking 50% or more of someone’s income (and thus their labors) in order to fund “the greater good” or “others” is the essence of collectivism. Try Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” for a preview.” I don’t know how that fit to what I originally said. I had said social security/medicare/medicaid are… Read more »

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