Saturday, February 14, 2009

About A Word — 'Stimulus'

A lot of news headlines, stories, and editorials have been and are getting written about the economic 'stimulus' package being put through the U.S. Congress now. But 'stimulus' is not descriptive for what Congress is doing at the behest of President Obama. "Massive government spending bill" more accurately describes what they are actually doing.

If the term 'stimulus' describes anything, it describes a wish, an intention for what proponents of this massive government spending bill want us to believe will happen. To give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they believe it themselves. But the belief is in the realm of inference. The results they promise have not happened yet. And there are a lot of good reasons for predicting that the massive government spending bill getting pushed through Congress now will not do what proponents say it will. The unintended (by them) consequences of the massive government spending being considered could be problematic for actually ameliorating the present economic mess.(1)

Why are they in such a hurry to pass legislation (thousands of pages long) that I would guess most senators and representatives haven't thoroughly, carefully and thoughtfully read and considered. Seems like folly to me.

(1) See Henry Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson for one of the clearest discussions around of the faulty evaluating that goes into so much economic thinking. You can read it online here- Economics In One Lesson If you don't have much time, you might at least look at Hazlitt's chapter
"Public Works Mean Taxes"

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