Monday, February 09, 2009

Krugman claims stimulus cuts will eliminate 600,000 jobs

This is from Paul Krugman at The York Times:

I’m still working on the numbers, but I’ve gotten a fair number of requests for comment on the Senate version of the stimulus.

The short answer: to appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts.

According to the CBO’s estimates, we’re facing an output shortfall of almost 14% of GDP over the next two years, or around $2 trillion. Others, such as Goldman Sachs, are even more pessimistic. So the original $800 billion plan was too small, especially because a substantial share consisted of tax cuts that probably would have added little to demand. The plan should have been at least 50% larger.

Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.

My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.

The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.

So the centrist congresscritters in the Senate have decided to cut just enough spending from the Obama stimulus bill to eliminate 600,000 jobs--creating a stimulus package that will not stimulate the economy. I'm wondering which is worst--the crazed Republicans demanding that the Obama stimulus plan be shelved for more of their tax cuts to the uber-rich and Big Business, or the centrist congressmen destroying the most effective part of the stimulus bill, while keeping the tax cuts. This U.S. economy is screwed either way by both classes of these congressional idiots.

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