Shocking!

The Dome is reporting that an NC State economist doesn't think the stimulus plan will deliver the goods for North Carolina. The economist happens to be one of the NC State faculty who regularly support the agenda of the market extremists at the John Locke Foundation. The article says it all depends on what multiplier you use on spending. Ya think?

Comments

Here's to free market optimism!

Economists know that consumer confidence can be a catalyst, the wind behind the sails of financial trends. But market extremists, having lost the battle of the ballot box, now have a vested interest in seeing Democrats fail.

Excellent resource

I will enjoy passing that one along.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Best response to this willful ignorance - call their bluff

Call their bluff.

Begala nails it in his column.

Anyone opposing the stimulus can opt their happy butt out.

Walden/Hood/Pope/etc can have their lackeys Stam/Dollar/etc in the legislature file bills removing their districts from Medicaid boosts from the federal stimulus.

How would the citizens in those districts react if the economic nitwits had the courage to act on their convictions?

It's not even close to the filing deadline on Jones Street.

Once again, put up or shut up.

 

Great idea

Every elected representative who rails against the stimulus as fundamentally a bad idea should be expected to file an opt-out bill on behalf of his or her district. Under the opt-out, no infrastructure funds, no education funds, no broadband money, etc., from the stimulus-funded programs would be used in his/her district.

These should be individual bills, so that they can be dealt with individually. Of course, no other legislators need take a bill seriously unless its sponsor can show a majority of constituent responses in favor. (That's a safeguard for places like NC's 5th District, where the Congressional representative is quite possibly philosophically irrational and extreme enough to file such a bill.)

However, any representative who rails against the stimulus bill and fails to file an opt-out bill should be thereafter expected to wear around his/her neck a neon yellow sign reading "Hypocrite!" for the next two years--or until replaced by the voters, whichever comes first.

Dan Besse

Not a real choice

It would only be a fair offer if the constituents were not forced to pay for the stimulus bill in exchange for not receiving the money.

But how is it going to be paid for anyway? I'm sure as much as possible will be borrowed, likely from the few remaining foreigners who have an appetite for US debt, and the rest will simply be monetized - resulting in an inflation of the money supply. So the borrowed sums will added to our 11 trillion dollar debt, the interest payments of which eat up all of the personal income tax revenue the Federal government receives annually. In effect, to ensure that those citizens not receiving the funds not be charge for them, their federal income taxes should be reduced not by their share of ~800 billion, but by their share of the interest payments + principle on the debt that this bill creates (which would be much higher). That means that all other citizens would actually have to pay even more income taxes to pay the extra interest on the national debt associated with this spending. (This applies to tax cuts as well - the deficits created by tax cuts that are not enacted along side proportional spending cuts only results in more debt, interest payments, and inflation because we continue to spend as if the taxes were not cut).

I guess this could be done - after all we have mountains of tax code calculations and regulations already. The tough part would be compensating select individuals for the net loss in the value of their money via inflation of the money supply. This would depend on the percentage of the bill that is paid for by simply creating the money through the Federal Reserve.

More importantly, what about the citizens who don't benefit from the stimulus spending either way? What if you aren't in education, health care, or the energy industry? What if you didn't get money for your pet project or industry? Why should you have to foot the bill equally with those who will receive a more direct benefit (such as a check in the mail)? Sure, you could argue that "everyone" will benefit from the stimulus spending, but even if that was the case, it is clear that certain sectors and individuals will benefit more than others. The Wall Street Bailout of 2008, though a separate bill (but voted for and promoted by many of the same individuals), was a clear example of money being given to a specific group. Was that fair? Where was my opportunity to opt out of that?

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Opting out

I wish I could have opted out of funding the Bush War on Terror for the past eight years. My little piece of that trillion dollar sink hole would have been a nice chunk of change.

I'd also like to opt out of the War on Drugs. And I'd like to opt out of subsidizing Big Energy, mercenary armies like Blackwater (Xe), and every other economic incentive paid for by tax dollars ... except for the ones I like.

None of that spending does anything for me personally. I. Want. Out.

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The point of the post was to underscore the whoring that goes on among ideologues. They'll fight to the death to stop the trough from being filled, but then belly up when it is, putting their principles on the back burner until the next opportunity for whining comes along.

I understand

I too wish that you and I were able to opt of those programs that we abhor while contributing to those that we endorse. It would not be a very radical change from our perspective - it's what we do every day in the free market. On the other hand, if we were allowed to do this it would fundamentally change the nature of the government by essentially stripping it of its ability to fund itself.

As to the main point of your post, I also agree that there are many politicians who are full of hot air and essentially feign opposition to a policy for political purposes when they know that it will pass anyway. I would add that this occurs in both political parties. That said, I don't think that these individuals are ideologues. Rather, they are demagogues and political opportunists. Were they truly ideologues, it's doubtful that they would be elected to any high office to begin with or be hypocrites on a regular basis. The majority of Republicans that are whining about big government now are the exact same "compassionate conservatives" that were expanding the scope of government dramatically over the last eight years. That aside, there are many people who are legitimately opposed on truly ideological grounds, there are many reasons why an "opt-out" option is not realistic, and there is not reason to ignore arguments simply because you distrust the advocate's motivations.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Satire and reality

The entire point of the Modest Proposal to demand opt-out legislation by politicians decrying the stimulus package was to underscore hypocrisy. Satire.

In reality, no "opt-out" is possible from most government policy and spending decisions. Your theoretical individual who does not benefit from a successful stimulus program does not exist--except to the extent that a few of the wealthiest in society might theoretically take personal advantage from an economy that continued in freefall.

Or are you suggesting, seriously, that the average citizen in any job does not benefit from a better-educated workforce, a more efficient health-care system, and a cleaner energy system? You can--I presume will--argue that these benefits will not flow from the investments included in the bill as passed. Feel free. But do not, please, suggest that only teachers, doctors, or utility employees benefit from effective investments in their industries.

As to the spending per se, I would argue that the fundamental value to future taxpayers from these investments is precisely that quality: These are investments in work we need to be doing anyway. In that regard, they differ radically from the deficit spending which poured from the Bush Administration in a flood of red ink. Bush borrowed at a record pace, primarily to fund cuts in tax rates for the upper income brackets. Debt laid on future generations with no lasting value provided.

That was debt immorality--not the investments in the program just passed by the current President and Congress.

Dan Besse

Reality

Your theoretical individual who does not benefit from a successful stimulus program does not exist--except to the extent that a few of the wealthiest in society might theoretically take personal advantage from an economy that continued in freefall.

No, that individual does exist. It is every person whose benefits received from this legislation are outweighed by their share of the cost of the legislation. If spending borrowed and freshly printed money was the path to economic growth and success, we wouldn't be in this crisis to begin with and we would never have to work again. Really, why not pass a bill like this every year? If it can help now, when can't it help, and why?

The wealthiest members of society already have taken advantage from the economic crisis. It's called TARP.

Or are you suggesting, seriously, that the average citizen in any job does not benefit from a better-educated workforce, a more efficient health-care system, and a cleaner energy system?

Clearly you believe that government can mandate efficiency. I guess the implosion of the USSR left me with a different impression. Again, I would like to know why, if you think these are the near-certain results of this legislation, we should not pass a similar bill every year. How much money should the government spend on 'educating the workforce'? Twice as much as it does now? Ten times as much? On what basis can you even make that decision?

But do not, please, suggest that only teachers, doctors, or utility employees benefit from effective investments in their industries.

In my post I suggested that certain industries would benefit more than others, yet the costs would not be imposed accordingly.

These are investments in work we need to be doing anyway.

Who is "we"? How do you know that this is work that is needed? What metric do you use in determining whether something is needed, and by whom? I realize this is a common talking point but I've yet to see any methodology for determining what things are more "needed" than others.

How do you invest money you don't have?

That was debt immorality--not the investments in the program just passed by the current President and Congress.

All debt on future generations is immoral. This current President and Congress also voted in favor of bailing out the banking system at the tune of several hundred billion. They said there would be accountability. They said they would buy "toxic assets". They said that the whole economic system would collapse if they didn't buy the toxic assets. They didn't buy them. It didn't collapse. There was no accountability. There was no oversight. Those who claimed that it was wasteful and counterproductive were ignored. Deja vu.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Hard-core philosophy

In this post, you're not offering any analysis of the contents of the stimulus package. You're repeating philosophical talking points. Your questions/contentions can be summarized with the bedrock ideological claims that underly contemporary Republican economic philosophy: Government spending on anything other than military purposes(or to a lesser degree police activities and road construction) is just wrong. All public investment decisions are inherently inefficient. And the "market" is a mystical force through which all economic good derives, and which can do no wrong.

I've got no quarrel with your right to ignore the evidence of history to trumpet that ideology. I have a hard time taking it seriously as a discussion of the merits of specific public investment decisions.

Dan Besse

Dodge

In this post, you are simply dodging the questions I posed to you. You are employing a classic straw man technique to avoid addressing my points: claiming that I am arguing from a particular ideological position (that I am not) and using that as an excuse to end the discussion and not answer my questions.

I've said nothing about the merits of military spending, whatsoever. Nor have I claimed that the market can "do no wrong", whatever that means. You claim that I believe that road construction is acceptable, while other "public investments" are inefficient. Where have I even come close to making these distinctions?

Yes, I'm skeptical that government will make health care more efficient given the disastrous results of government intervention into the health care industry thus far in our history (all in favor of the managed care system vote "aye"). This is not a view isolated to a particular portion of the political spectrum.

Moreover, I have been offering plenty of analysis of the stimulus package. I've pointed out my concern over how this spending will be financed and questioned whether or not it will actually help the economy grow. Again I will pose the question to you: if you are confident that this stimulus bill will make the economy grow to such a degree that it is worth the cost, why not do this every year? If your assertions are correct, have we not stumbled upon the philosopher's stone?

Also I'd like an explanation for how you know that certain projects are "needed", if you can find the time.

The fact is, this legislation is a political stunt that will have no real effect other than to distract from other issues, add to the national debt, and hasten a currency crisis.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Rhetoric

"Doc", your "questions" are nothing but ideological debating points phrased in question format. Attacking the concept of deficit financing through the ruse of asking "why not do it every year?" doesn't seriously analyze the merits of employing that tool in this specific set of circumstances. Challenging the appropriateness of public infrastructure investments with the blanket question "how do you know these projects are needed?" doesn't constitute a serious specific question.

You seem to be inviting an ideological point-counterpoint over the generic validity of public spending on physical infrastructure and social programs. I've long since run out of patience which which to debate these endlessly repeated libertarian-style philosophical points ad infinitem, ad nauseum. I understand that's what some blog posters come to these sites to do, and if that's your favored entertainment, go ahead and enjoy. There are usually others around who'll enjoy obliging you.

Dan Besse

Good Dr, your premature conclusions are just that

All debt on future generations is immoral.

Debt by its nature must exist going forward in linear time. If a benevolent father leaves his children an estate, is that immoral? He's leaving them debts in the form of taxes, upkeep and other obligations. It's how you define debt and value that make this statement argument ad infinitum.

This current President and Congress also voted in favor of bailing out the banking system at the tune of several hundred billion. They said there would be accountability. They said they would buy "toxic assets". They said that the whole economic system would collapse if they didn't buy the toxic assets. They didn't buy them. It didn't collapse. There was no accountability. There was no oversight. Those who claimed that it was wasteful and counterproductive were ignored. Deja vu.

This only problem here is your conclusion that you state "it didn't collapse." It is slowly collapsing around us everyday. Infusions of cash are only prolonging the inevitable. Wasteful? I would say yes. Counterproductive? Unlikely, since time was needed to generate the political will to nationalize the banks.

Clearly you believe that government can mandate efficiency. I guess the implosion of the USSR left me with a different impression.

I guess the implosion of the investment banks left me with a different impression.

If spending borrowed and freshly printed money was the path to economic growth and success, we wouldn't be in this crisis to begin with and we would never have to work again. Really, why not pass a bill like this every year? If it can help now, when can't it help, and why

Because deflation is far more difficult and painful to fight than inflation. And, the global economy is in the same boat we are. Our inflationary fight to come will be different than inflationary pressures we've experienced in a less connected global economy in the past.

 

That's a pseudonym

The real Dr. Carroll Quigley died in 1977. He was a conspiracy theorist:

On this basis, which was originally financial and goes back to George Peabody, there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy.

who taught foreign policy at a university...

I gathered as much

Just a little snark back at someone who clothes their arguments with extraneous verbage.

 

Dr Quigley and he didn't go to Austria economics to find Clinton

The real Dr. Carroll Quigley died in 1977. He was a conspiracy theorist* scharrison

Naw! He was no conspiracy theorist! He was a member of the Council of Foreign Relations [CFR, a term that all conspriacy theorists use].....He wrote the most intense and longest book [Tragic and Hope, 1890 pages] about the Anglo{British}-American establishment in history from it's creation to it's present power in all Goverments. Bill Clinton once said that Dr Quigley was his complete mentor for understanding how government works and how to use that power after attending Georgtown Uiversity and siting under Dr.Quigley teaching classes.

Dr Quigley was one of the few individuals in history invited by the Establishment to view their records and interview them.

I am impress that the present Dr Quigley has overcome death with his appearance on this site....No doubt, he finally found the secrets in society and life...

See the real racist in the conspiracy business below as Dr Quigley wrote tons of pages on the Brother.

While attending Oriel College, Rhodes became a Freemason. Although his initial view of it was not approving, he continued to be a Freemason until his death in 1902. The failures of the Freemasons, in his mind, later caused him to envisage his own secret society with the goal of bringing the entire world under British rule.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Rhodes

Senior Political Moments by John Locke and Dr Walden

As Dr. Walden profoundly says, it all depends on what multiplier you use on spending. No kidding.* James

**The following was written by Lew Rockwell, a noted Libertarian and property-rights advocate. Max, in case you're wondering, intellectual property deserves the same consideration that yard with a picket fence gets. Every time you post excerpts of others' creations without giving them attribution, it's the same as building a squatter's shack on their front lawn. Pleeeease stop doing this.

Steve the fascist dictator.

We've lived through eight years of the threat from the right. It was all about nationalism, militarism, war, torture, state secrets, attacks on privacy, the use of tax funds to subsidize "conservative values," the outsourcing of government in a fascistic business-government partnership, the banning of products and services that government doesn’t like, the regimentation of educational life, government impositions in the name of security, and so on.

It is the great merit of the end of the Bush years that many of these threats have receded, if only slightly. Consider the problem of nationalism, for example. The neoconservatives who ran the country during the last two Bush terms exploited this dangerous impulse for all it was worth.

If you were not for their wars, you were against America, and hence deserving of jail without trial. The whole ideological apparatus of the Bush years was profoundly anti-intellectual, and while the neocons shouted down anyone who compared these years to the Third Reich or Mussolini, the ideological comparison was actually quite apt: right-wing government control stems from the same motives of exalting security, discipline, and chauvinism above liberty

Calling Steve the fascist dictator! Line 3 please!

**The following was written by Lew Rockwell, a noted Libertarian and property-rights advocate. Max, in case you're wondering, intellectual property deserves the same consideration that yard with a picket fence gets. Every time you post excerpts of others' creations without giving them attribution, it's the same as building a squatter's shack on their front lawn. Pleeeease stop doing this.*Steve the fascist dictator.

Dear Steve! Either you are a secret libertarian or a snitch for the former Nazi Socialist Party with a obession for Lew when he posts. I don't wonder Steve, it call a mistake and mistakes do happen quite offen nowdays with the present economic choas that is occuring daily in what is left of our Consitutional Republic. By the way Steve! I was hoping you would quote the Consitution on intellectual property as your source of authority instead of acting like some low level fascist party member trying to suck up to the present Roman Imperial Emperor...Somehow I get the feeling that you are one of those fuzzy brain dead liberals who post signs in their front yard like below.

" Warning! The Owner of this property does not believe in the 2 nd amendment!"

But Connie, Lew didn't post it here...

*sigh* nevermind.

Here you go, from Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

But Connie, Lew didn't post it here...I know that!

He is too busy running the Lew Rockwell site and wouldn't be caught dead here! And don't lecture me on the consitution unless you are in the 101 st Montana milita.

Believe it or not,

I actually trained Montana National Guard troops at Fort Harrison back in the mid-1980's. It was a tradeoff so we could use their facilities to stage our Arctic training. Some of the folks there are a little... "different", but they're also some of the nicest people I've ever met.

Don't know where I heard it but...

it seems that there is a 45 day window for states to use the money. That forces the nay sayers (Republican Governors) to put up or shut up.

Progressives are the true conservatives.

I think you'll see that...

most, if not all, Republican governors are not saying anything. They know the realities of having to do a state budget. But GOP legislators think they have free rein to criticize everything since they don't have to directly deal with it.

This is a clever little statement:

He said he doesn't get any financial benefit from his media profile -- he's barred by NCSU from paid consulting.

But a bigger question is: is he barred from being paid for speaking engagements? Not likely. If I learned anything from studying Liddy Dole's finances, it was that speaking engagements are how you make tons of money while avoiding conflicts of interest.

Like this one he did for Pope/Civitas last year, and this one he did for Capital Associated Industries a few weeks ago. In case anybody's wondering, CAI is a "non-profit" that is Bruce Clarke's virulently anti-union management training company.

As far as Dr. Walden's "scholarly" approach to economics, here's one of his stated reasons against a minimum wage:

Another reason is that low wage rates serve
an important “signalling” function. They signal
to the worker that his skills, although valuable,
are not highly valued in the economy compared
to the skills of other workers. This then serves as
motivation for the worker to seek training and
education that will improve his skills and make
him more valuable to the economy.

Umm, what? Forcing people to struggle for survival as a motivator to get more education? I suppose that's why so many homeless people are enrolled in college right now. Yes, that was sarcasm.