Bryan Caplan  

One Million Dollars!

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Remember the scene in the first Austin Powers movie where Dr. Evil tries to hold the country hostage for one million dollars? That's how silly the presidential candidates' "economic stimulus packages" sound to me. And that's what I got to tell Bryant Park on NPR this morning, Dr. Evil voice included. The link includes the full podcast.


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TRACKBACKS (3 to date)
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The author at Roth & Company, P.C. in a related article titled STIMULUS AWAY! writes:
    The TaxGrrrl says that President Bush will today propose sending taxpayers with incomes under $110,000 tax rebates - $800... [Tracked on January 18, 2008 12:11 PM]
COMMENTS (13 to date)
Steve Miller writes:

It also works for breathless pieces like this.

Yes, yes. The well-funded, highly influential libertarian think tanks have spent millions of dollars [pinkie to mouth] in their efforts to diminish the role of government in society. What chance do poor, underfunded bureaucracies they attack have (with their mere trillions)?

John V writes:

Good Stuff.

I also listened to Russ Roberts's poscast about economic stimulus on NPR. They go hand in hand.

Here's what I wish you guys would address:

There are economists who helping craft and advocate these stimulus packages. Other econ bloggers like Delong, Krugman and Thoma give these packages a credence and respect that you and Russ do not.

What do you say to them? What is it in their economic rearing that they are betraying by taking such a charitable and respectful view of these stimulus packages?

Scott Scheule writes:

Yes, I second John's request.

John V writes:

And I third it! hehehe

I read all the major econ blogs and I feel there's this empty no man's land where libertarian and more liberal economists do not seem to cross hairs and get down to the nitty gritty on the major issues.

I even get a pissed when I watch breathless liberal posters bash you guys at GMU (and elsewhere) by mutilating basic economics...while the liberal econ hosts say nothing.

Jim Gannon writes:

And why in the world does Ben Bernanke approve of a stimulus package?

spencer writes:

The difference between a good economy and a horrible economy is 2% growth versus -1% growth. On that basis the size of the stimulus being talked about is very substantial.

You are making a fundamental error in looking at stimulus as an example of average impact rather then marginal impact.

You have to do better than that.

Urstoff writes:

I did laugh heartily at the outro music: "Damn if Feels Good to be a Gangster".

Troy Camplin writes:

That should be the mandatory outro music for every politician.

Paul Zrimsek writes:

I certainly hope Steve Miller was making air quotes with his fingers as he said "think tanks".

liberty writes:

That was a little bizarre because it was framed as being about the stimulus packages (e.g. Obama gives everyone $250), but then without re-framing, he started asking you about the candidates actual long-term economic proposals (e.g. repeal the Bush tax cuts).

While the stimulus packages cost $50-75 billion or so just once, the tax plans cost between $80 billion and $200 billion per year or more. While the stimulus packages are meant to have an effect right away (although they wouldn't) and are offered as suggestions for doing right now, the long term plans are meant to have long-term effects and are plans the candidates have for when they get into office. And while the stimulus packages are all supposed to boost the economy (by definition), the long term proposals are often for a different purpose, such as economic equity or reducing the size and scope of government.

It was a fruit bowl, with apples and oranges all thrown in together.

Biomed Tim writes:

I agree with John V. It was actually the first thing I thought of after listening to the podcast, and it's refreshing to find out that other commenters feel the same.

I'm curious about how Goolsbee, or Mankiw, or Holtz-Eakin justifies what their respective candidates propose. (Perhaps the answer will be something along the lines of "you should've heard what they wanted to propose if I hadn't stopped them")

Steve Miller writes:

I certainly hope Steve Miller was making air quotes with his fingers as he said "think tanks".

I should have said, "think tanks with freakin' laser beams on their heads."

macquechoux writes:

"I'm curious about how Goolsbee, or Mankiw, or Holtz-Eakin justifies what their respective candidates propose."

You should read what Mankiw had to say about just that not too long ago. It was to the effect that he merely advises them when asked; he does not make or set economic policy. It was basically they choose what they like & ignore the rest. Check his blog, seems to me it was within the last three months or so. (I'm an old man it could be a bit longer.)

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