Monday, September 7, 2009

Economic Incompetence or Malice?

President Obama said we had to pass the "stimulus package" quickly — so much so we couldn't afford the time for the Senators and Congressmen to actually read the bill they were being asked to pass. We were assured this bill was necessary to get the economy moving again and keep our workers employed, and that it really would accomplish both those things.

Now the latest monthly unemployment numbers are out. Here they are, graphed with the Administration's analysis of what the results would be with and without their "recovery plan", a.k.a. the "stimulus package".

I find this performance extremely disturbing, no matter which way I look at it. I would like to think the Administration has/had enough economic competence (or access to enough economic competence) to be able to project the likely course of the recession and its primary features. But if that is so, then the "stimulus package" clearly wasn't a stimulus. Maybe that was because Obama "farmed out" its preparation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her friends, who loaded it up with pork and payoffs for their political cronies. Maybe it was at least partly because the Administration decided, despite their campaign claims, to take their economic advice from people like Van Jones and Barney Frank instead of from folks like Paul Volcker and Warren Buffett — and created, as a result, an anti-stimulus bill (with pork and payoffs) for their "stimulus package". Or just maybe, even if they could project the recession's unmodified course, they really had no clue what to do to change it.

On the other hand, it may be that the blue lines on the graph were just made up, too. That would suggest an Administration with great competence in running a political campaign, but with no economic knowledge or competence beyond the Keynesian knee-jerk response of "throw money at it."

Gee — it appears all the explanations for the comparison between projection and performance include one or both of economic incompetence and malice on the part of this Administration. It's very likely they never understood what this recession was doing, and why. But even putting the best possible face on it, at the very least, they have no one who knows what to do about our current condition.

Meanwhile, as reported on today's ABC radio news, the Obama Administration says the stimulus is clearly working. I suppose the veracity of that statement depends on what the "stimulus" is really intended to do.

No comments: