Half full, or half empty?
I was surprised that no administration officials were on the business news channels this morning. That is highly unusual for Jobs Day. Maybe they are afraid of the following sequence of questions:
1. Is the economy recovering? (They would like to answer this one, “Tentatively yes. We’re seeing positive signs, but there’s a long way to go.”)
2. If so, is the economy recovering because of the stimulus? How can you claim that it is if only $40-ish billion has gone out the door so far?
3. Or are the green shoots growing just because it’s springtime? Is the less worse economic news primarily a result of financial institutions raising capital and the passage of time?
In addition to being inefficient and wasteful, the stimulus was poorly timed. By deferring to congressional desires to shovel taxpayer funds to slow-spending infrastructure projects, the administration got a stimulus law that isn’t helping GDP growth now, and won’t have a quantitatively significant effect until 2010. The administration is in a tough spot — if the economy is not healing, then at some point the president will take the blame. If instead the economy is healing before the stimulus takes effect, then maybe the stimulus was unnecessary or even counterproductive.
Gee, it’s not like nobody predicted this months ago when the fool bill was passed without anyone having a chance to read it.