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The Stimulus: Hopes and Fears

John on February 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I’ve been too sick to read the news, but I’m finally coming around enough to play catch up. The big issue is still the economy, specifically the “stimulus” bill that is being voted on in the Senate today. In case you’ve been out of the loop too, here’s a quick round up:

  • Democrats have embraced spending in the neighborhood of $1 trillion, making this the biggest single spending bill ever considered by Congress. Republicans have been fighting it, trying to cut some of the pork from the bill. So far, they’ve had little success.
  • A group of moderates from both parties has formed (some are calling it a gang) and is trying to negotiate its own compromise. The gang is aiming for something closer to $800 Billion.
  • Obama warned this week that failure to act swiftly could turn a bad situation into “catastrophe.” Charles Krauthammer notes that the politics of hope on which Obama campaigned didn’t last long.
  • Looking at a list of where the money is going is not especially heartening. Sounds like a big government wishlist.
  • Japan tried something similar after its own economic bubble burst in the 80s. They sunk themselves deeper in debt and, depending who you ask, it was a big waste of money or didn’t go far enough.
  • Not surprisingly, depending who you listen to the $1 trillion we’re about to spend is either not nearly enough to save the economy or the last straw that will break its back. Here’s an entertaining video showing those two positions going at it:
YouTube Preview Image

Generally speaking, I find the gloom and doom approach advocated by Schiff unappealing. However, the other guy completely loses me when he suggests that it’s either stimulus now or Hitler later. If that’s optimism, I’ll try the pessimism for a change.

If you want to hear the pessimist speak without all the crosstalk, try this. I really do hope he’s terribly wrong. Either way, this next decade may be a tough one on all of us.

[HT: Hot Air for the 2nd Schiff video]

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