Patterico's Pontifications


Michael Hiltzik: The Obama Stimulus Worked!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:11 pm

Michael Hiltzik, with another insipid column:

Once again: Yes, the stimulus worked.

Amazingly, there are still some holdouts in the political and economic community who insist that the Obama stimulus failed–that is, failed to arrest a steep fall in economic output and launch a period of growth in gross domestic product, jobs, stock market valuations, and other metrics that continues to this day.

This is not rocket science, folks. Stimulus money hurts the economy, because it diverts money from uses that benefit the consumer (as determined by market forces) towards uses that do not benefit the consumer (because they are misdirected by government intervention). There is no stimulus program that solely put idle people to work without diverting resources from where they would have most efficiently been used in a free market.

But don’t take my Austrian economics perspective at face value. Let’s look at what we were promised by the proponents of the stimulus. We were told that the stimulus would keep unemployment low, and that the unemployment rate would peak at just under 8 percent in 2009. Here was the Obama projection:

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.24.43 PM
Above: a chart from a
report cited by Obama to say unemployment would stay under 8 percent with a giant stimulus

Nice dream. In reality, though, unemployment went past 10 percent, and has only recently dipped below 8 percent.

(I hate using the standard unemployment figures because they are meaningless and do not reflect people who go on disability or otherwise drop out of the workforce. But the promises were made in these terms.)

That’s not all. We were also told the jobs would be “shovel ready”; that the stimulus would lift “2 million Americans from poverty”; that the green economy would create millions of jobs; and so on. These promises have not materialized — not any of them.

The Paul Krugmans of the world say that the stimulus just needed to be bigger! If your policy fails, it’s always because you didn’t implement that policy hard enough.) And indeed, that is Hiltzik’s line . . . today:

As we enter year six of the stimulus era, with yet another disappointing reading on GDP, it’s important to keep all that in mind: The stimulus works, it should have been bigger, and the impulse to replace it with austerity measures has done nothing but hurt workers and businesses. Anyone who claims otherwise doesn’t know how to read an economic chart, or doesn’t want to.

Today, Hiltzik says the stimulus should have been bigger. That’s not the tune he was singing in 2009, when he was simply beside himself with glee over the (to him very pleasingly) ginormous size of the stimulus:

In its embrace of the principle of stimulus by deficit spending, the Obama administration is launching a program infinitely more ambitious than anything Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed as a peacetime initiative in his entire tenure in the White House.

The White House is taking to heart one of the most important lessons of the New Deal — that it wasn’t stimulative enough.

. . . .

To a greater extent than most people understand today, Roosevelt was constrained by the political and economic orthodoxy of his era. . . . .

In terms of the scale of the program, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats have demonstrated that, by contrast, they’re uneasy with timidity.

In 2009, Hiltzik was giving a standing O for the huge size of the stimulus. Now that it has failed to deliver on any of the alleged benefits we were supposed to see, all of a sudden it was now too small.

Hey Hiltzik, sorry they archive your old stuff, dude. Oh well. Sucks to be you.

Michael Hiltzik gets paid by the L.A. Times to make outrageously silly claims that leftist failures are actually giant successes. ObamaCare? A huge success! because it makes insurance available to more people through the magic of government subsidies! The web site’s failure? A huge success! because fewer people are using government subsidies, thus saving the taxpayer money! The blatant contradictions are papered over, in a fashion one might suppose is indicative of dishonesty — the sort of dishonesty practiced by, say, a guy who hacks into his co-workers’ emails, or who defends himself on enemies’ Web sites using poorly disguised sock puppets.

Hiltzik is not just dishonest, you see — he’s stupidly dishonest. It’s that much more amusing because he thinks he’s so smart.

Thanks, again, to Dana.

Those Crazy Kids at Dartmouth!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

With their wacky insinuations about possible violence:

We, the Concerned Asian, Black, Latin@, Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students at Dartmouth College, seek to eradicate systems of oppression as they affect marginalized communities on this campus. These systems–which include racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism–are deployed at Dartmouth and beyond as forms of institutional violence. We demand that Dartmouth challenge these systems by redistributing power and resources in a way that is radically equitable. We believe that dialogue and resistance are both legitimate and necessary ways of disturbing the status quo and forcing parties to deal with the roots of the issues.

By March 24, 2014 (the first day of the 2014 Spring Term), the Dartmouth administration needs to publicly respond to each item raised on this document with its exact commitment to each one of its demands. We also request that, by that day, a timetable and point people are designated for the above commitments. Finally, items that require funds will have a monetary commitment in the 2014-2015 fiscal budget. If the Dartmouth administration does not respond by the indicated time, those who believe in freedom will be forced to physical action.

We, the sensible people of the world, declare that we will ignore whiny demands from entitled grievance-mongers such as yourselves, and that if you take any physical action that violates the law, we will contact the police and press charges.

Oh, one more thing: we, the sensible people of the world, are not in charge at Dartmouth. Those folks will cave.

This is what universities teach kids these days. I have a child entering high school next year and have already begun to warn her about what she will face in college. In Russia, you oppress minorities, in United States, minorities oppress YOU! What a country! /Yakov Smirnoff

Thanks to Dana (I think nk noted this in comments as well).

Did Joe Biden Really Say Obama Gave Him “Every S**t Job” in the World? – Updated

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

Politico (Google cache link to punish thuggery) has a profile of Joe Biden, which details (among other things) his being walled out of the Obama administration. This is an interesting quote:

But, now as always, Biden remains skeptical of Obama’s cautiousness. “Look, I just have more of a populist strain than Barack does,” he told an associate recently, a statement that clearly hints at 2016 product differentiation from Obama and Clinton, a desire to emphasize that he’s his own man.

You don’t often see quotes like that from a sitting VP — but then, as the profile details, Biden upset the administration with gaffes such as announcing his support for gay marriage before Obama did.

I can’t help but wonder, though, whether the Politico article has been altered, because here is the headline at the Daily Mail:

‘I was given every s*** job in the world by Obama’: Biden makes astonishing revelations about his relationship with the President as it’s claimed he was ‘frozen out’ by White House over gay gaffe

Do me a favor and tell me where that rather incendiary language is to be found in the Politico article, because I can’t find it. In fact, I can’t find it in the body of the Daily Mail piece either — just the headline. What does the headline writer know that we don’t? Of course, the apparent absence of the quote from the source material does not seem to have prevented numerous Web sites from having quoted the language, including Fox News and the New York Post. Every reference goes back to Politico.

What gives?

UPDATE by JD – h/t Eliot. The Biden quote is on page 3 of the linked article. Since I will not link to Politico directly, you can find it at the link in the first comment.

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