James Pethokoukis

More evidence ‘stimulus’ doesn’t work too well

June 26, 2009

From Action Economics (bold is mine):

Today’s U.S. reports revealed a bigger May income boost than we assumed from recent stimulus legislation, but a lower service consumption trajectory nevertheless, to leave a remarkable surge in the savings rate and a slightly weaker trajectory for aggregate demand as we approach mid-year.  We also saw a small upward bump in the Michigan sentiment index in June as the various confidence measures post gains from Q4-Q1 lows, though confidence remains remarkably lean. The soaring savings rate shows that households are still bracing for the worst despite improving market conditions, as they hoard distributed stimulus benefits and hence truncate some of the “stimulative” effects.

Obama’s stimulus trap

June 25, 2009

It was, potentially, the most explosive question asked at President Barack Obama’s news conference. Just nine words: “Do you think you need a second stimulus package?”

Obama and a second stimulus package

June 23, 2009

Actually, it would the third stimulus, counting the one from Bush. The president at his new conference this afternoon:

Obama stimulus vs. Reagan tax cuts

June 15, 2009

Paul Krugman worries that phony inflation fears will lure policymakers into withdrawing fiscal and monetary stimulus too soon. In the process, he takes a shot at Reaganomics:

Obama stimulus vs. Fed stimulus update …

June 15, 2009

A stimulus update from my guy Dan Clifton, super-analyst at Strategas Research: “Through June 5th, about $46bn of stimulus spending and $10bn of tax cuts have been enacted (total $56bn) via President Obama’s $787bn stimulus package (7.1%).”

Has Obamanomics already failed?

June 9, 2009

That is is the insta-conclusion of Newt Gingrich. What you can say, I think, is that the administration appears to have been overly optimistic. Indeed, Obama advisers are already admitting that. The economic forecasts driving the stimulus package were too rosy, as was the “stress test” worst case scenario. And had Team Obama been gloomier — as gloomy as the Inauguration Day speech, say — would their policies have been different, would they have followed the advice of folks like Paul Krugman and Robert Kuttner and pushed for a much bigger stimulus package? Or would they have at least front loaded the existing stimulus package by increasing the emphasis on tax cuts vs. “investment” spending? Perhaps. But the gamble they took was to let the Fed pretty much handle the near term (and avoid a depression) while they would focus on bolstering the economy for the longer term and pushing through their policy agenda.

What’s in a name?

June 5, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment  Act is quite poorly named. First of all, the U.S. economy is already recovering even though maybe 5 percent of the $800 billion package has been spent. Plus, much of the spending will have nothing to do with reinvestment, as the Associated Press notes:

Do we need a second Obama stimulus pacakge?

May 29, 2009

Back in January when Team Obama was pushing its stimulus plan, the White House put out a self-analysis of the potential economic impact of the plan, authored by Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer.  If Congress passed the president’s plan, the report said, the U.S. unemployment rate would rise to just under 8 percent by later this year and fall to 7 percent by Q4 2010. If the plan was not passed, the reported predicted, the U.S. unemployment rate would climb to 9 percent next year.