When the Obama administration finally unveils its proposal to get the economy on the road to recovery, the centerpiece is likely to be a huge increase in government spending. But there are ample reasons to doubt whether this is what the economy needs.
.., by doing the math, we find that when the G.D.P. expands, less than a third of the increase takes the form of private consumption and investment. Most is for what the government has ordered..
If the stimulus package takes the form of bridges to nowhere, a result could be economic expansion as measured by standard statistics but little increase in economic well-being.
One possibility is that he wants to use a temporary crisis as a pretense for engineering a permanent increase in the size and scope of the government. Believers in limited government have reason to be wary.
But don’t expect such qualms to stop the juggernaut. The prevailing orthodoxy among the nation’s elite holds that increased government spending is the right medicine for what ails the economy.
Mr. Samuelson once said, “I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws or crafts its advanced treaties, if I can write its economics textbooks.”The coming stimulus bill, warts and all, will demonstrate brilliantly what he had in mind.