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Defending the indefensible: More stimulus garbage

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Thursday, March 13, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
 

As if beating a horse long dead makes any sense, President Obama's politically pandering Council of Economic Advisers is still defending the indefensible by insisting that the $763 billion stimulus, five years ago, delivered the U.S. economy from depression.

Not only is this pure spin, it's dangerous because it provides an excuse for this or future administrations to attempt the same logic-stunted mistake. And that has a debilitating cost — namely, an economy that last year grew at an anemic 1.9 percent during what's been the most painfully slow recovery since World War II.

But the salesmen of the stale stimulus insist that for every dollar government increased spending, the economy grew by more than that buck because of the so-called “multiplier effect”: that dollar magically grew into a larger sum as it was passed along. What the savants of government spending neglect to point out in their tin-to-gold economic alchemy is that to give away all those dollars, the government must first take that money out of the economy, through taxes or borrowing.

“So for every dollar the government spent, someone in the private sector didn't have that dollar available to spend,” writes Curtis Dubay, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation.

And if, in fact, the stimulus was such a stunning success, then why does Team Obama insist on extending jobless benefits to the point of absurdity — for up to 99 weeks?

Somewhere, we're sure, the select beneficiaries of government's last stimulus must be smiling.

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