Will the stimulus bill do harm?

The so-called stimulus bills passed by the House and about to be passed by the Senate cannot withstand scrutiny. The monstrosities shot through the bills would prove to be a great embarrassment upon reasoned examination. The prominent economist Robert Barro concisely renders judgment:

This is probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s. I don’t know what to say. I mean it’s wasting a tremendous amount of money. It has some simplistic theory that I don’t think will work, so I don’t think the expenditure stuff is going to have the intended effect. I don’t think it will expand the economy. And the tax cutting isn’t really geared toward incentives. It’s not really geared to lowering tax rates; it’s more along the lines of throwing money at people. On both sides I think it’s garbage. So in terms of balance between [spending and tax relief] it doesn’t really matter that much.

But will the bill that is to be adopted risk great harm? That is a question that has been addressed far too little. Richard Fernandez asks “whether current government solutions to the crisis contribute to political risk or reduce it. That means knowing what’s broke before applying the screwdriver to the screw.” He comments: “Who knows what the future brings? But maybe we should look before we leap.” Those who prefer otherwise appear to have something other than the best interest of the country in mind.

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