On economics, the president made claims such as “I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis.” Yet how can he have “complete confidence” when the economics profession is divided on the stimulus issue, and when we have seen policymakers and top economists making continual mistakes with their policies and predictions over the last year?
On economists, the president opined “although there are some politicians who are arguing that we don’t need a stimulus, there are very few economists who are making that argument.” Mr. President, please look at the Cato list of more than 300 university economists who oppose a big stimulus spending bill. Please have your advisers call these experts to get an independent outside-the-beltway view.
Though I agree with the new president on many issues, I remain highly skeptical of his economic policies--particularly because his statements on his proposed stimulus plan are so lacking in nuance and, frankly, honesty. Thus, I'm glad that organizations like Cato are out there to keep me informed about the other side in these debates.
Perhaps the best thing about these libertarian writers is that they were equally critical of Bush's economic liberalism. Unlike most members of Congress, these guys aren't just a bunch of partisan hacks. They actually offer principled reasons for opposing Obama's economic plan. Most Republicans are in no position to do so because of their complicity in Bush's wild spending over the last eight years.
Ron Paul is, refreshingly, a notable exception:
If only Paul (minus his disappointing coziness with some disgusting bigots) and Obama (minus his willingness to claim false certainty on complex economic issues) really represented the true nature of their parties. A choice between these two would at least leave us with decent stances on civil liberties regardless of who won. But the rank and file office holders in both parties are far worse than either of these mostly respectable men. At some point, we have to find a way to fix our absurdly corrupt party system.