Dum Pendebat Filius

A sniff in the kortevar, that what you cry for, yeled? A prert up the cull, a prang on the dumpendebat?

Thoughts on the Stimulus

Since the other Chris is gone, the junior writer, elfasbrynja, would like to step in.

I voted for Obama last year and I appreciate how he has already rolled back a lot of stupid Bush administration policies. In terms of social and scientific policy, at least, he’s doing markedly better than what I would have expected from a McBush presidency.

However, I am starting to look sourly on his stimulus bill. A recent New York Times op-ed, Stimulus for Skeptics sums everything up best.

That’s not a recipe for doing nothing. It’s a recipe for skepticism. And it leads to some guiding principles for those designing the $500 billion stimulus plan the next administration seems set on: Don’t just throw more money into the sugar rush. Spend money on projects that will enhance the long-term economic health of the country even without a crisis. Do what you would do anyway, just do it faster.

And yet so many are willing to throw money at a sugar rush, because of partisanship, the cancer that is destroying this country. Many on the left are now coming out and saying that every sensible economist agrees with stimulus. That’s just not the case. Many have pointed out—rightly so—that it is full of teensy-weensy tax exemptions and special interest projects that won’t do much good in the long run. There are some good things, like support for high-speed rail, which is a long term gain, but on the whole it’s going to plunge us deeper into astronomical debt, continued from Raygun and Bush I and II, from which we will recover only after many decades.

I’m really disappointed in the childish polarization we see in both parties today, which casts the whole policy debate in terms of false binary choices, which both tend to be the wrong ones. I’m really disappointed in the dogma, too. It seems people are more willing to toe their respective party lines unswervingly than to steer clear of intellectual laziness and actually bother to listen to what other people are saying.

I don’t hate the USA, but if we keep up this horseshit, we no longer deserve to be the leading world power.

Filed under: Political by elfasbrynja at 2009/03/10 - 21:49


  1. dumpendebat:

    Thanks for coming back as a co-blogger, and please post more stuff here if/when you get the urge.

    Excellent post.

  2. Hank Dagny:

    Excellent post???
    You useful idiots voted for this dictator.
    You voted for the socialization of the nation.
    Live with it – and die with it.

  3. elfasbrynja:

    Well Hank I honestly don’t believe John McBush would have done a better job.

    The crux of my disagreement with the stimulus bill is that it’s full of lots of short-term fiscal policy that is just going to put us into lots of debt. I would prefer a mixture of monetary policy (the Fed stimulating demand) and long-term fiscal-policy.

    Would McBush have done a better job? Probably not. Bush himself tried to administer a similar fiscal crack high through tax rebates and it didn’t work. These kinds of things are very populist, used by both major parties, but there’s no strong evidence to show that they are effective.

    There are some who would argue that more of Obama’s tax rebates will be targeted at those with the lowest incomes—something I have yet to see hard numbers for—which will arguably make it superior. I don’t buy that. For a historical perspective, every laborer in America—AFAIK—shouldered a 10% personal and corporate tax surcharges in 1968 during the Second Indochina War. However the permanent income hypothesis held up here.

    So, Hank, I’m not claiming that Obama and the Congress have formed a socialist dictatorship. I’m an economics student. I don’t believe in Marxism-Leninism. I don’t even believe in Stockholm school economics. On the Political Compass test, I just barely register as left-wing in economic terms, at something like -1.3. That’s mainly because I believe that abusive monopolies should be broken up and that the fine arts should be supported. Hardly what you’d call a Sandinista, huh?

    I’ll bet Adam Smith would be too left-wing for you, Hank.

  4. Hank Dagny:

    I agree with you Bush/McCain would not have done a better job. They just would not be trying to make us a socialist / communist country immediately.
    They would have continued the slow slide, taking the slings and arrows from liberals like you – and all the way to Comrade Krugman and the rest.
    Democrats are now targeting private citizens. That ought to scare you.

  5. dumpendebat:

    Poor Hank Dagny — his eyes started to glaze over as soon as he started trying to read. He didn’t read the original post, as it was too long and contained too many big words, so he just assumed that Elfasbrynja was coming out in favor of “socialism.” Then his silly comment was favored with a thoughtful response, and his reply was again, “Duh… SOCIALISM.” That seems to be the best he can do.

  6. elfasbrynja:

    Hank needs to enjoy some ‘free education’:


  7. Reid Luzzader:

    Chris, if you or your co-writer are on Facebook, please look me up there.

    I hope you are doing well. I recently finished an internship at the annual Utah legislative session with a Democratic State Senator and will be graduating with a Political Science BA at the end of summer semester.

  8. Reid Luzzader:

    Some contructive criticism for my friends. Oscar Wilde joked that he chose his enemies for their intelligence and there’s something in that. Hank is something of a real-life straw man and doesn’t represent any of the more thoughtful strains of conservative thought. Perhaps you could find a harder target to debate with. It would be better practice, if nothing else.

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