Sunday, February 01, 2009

Whither Stimulus?

In perfect timing with the theme of my last post, Matthew Yglesias argues (at tip to Ross Douthat) that we shouldn't sweat exactly what's in the stimulus because there's a decent chance that it's either stimulus for the economy or good for the country as a whole. I don't think Republicans should hyperventilate over this. The liberals would want these programs whether the economy was in recession or not, and now that they're in power they're going to try to get them. Instead, we should get them off the fence: the amount of money in the bill is so large that its proponents ought to be able to justify why they want it. It's very likely that we should oppose some or most of it anyway, but we won't know why necessarily until the other team has had the chance to make a case in favor of it. In particular, we should see just how much belief the other side has in the neo-Keynsianism they've been arguing for the last few months. It's very possible that it's less than we've been led to believe.

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