Bunch of Nobodies

by Don Boudreaux on January 28, 2009

in Stimulus

No economists oppose the stimulus plan???

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{ 41 comments }

Don Boudreaux January 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm

By the way, while I can't speak for Russ, the only reason my name isn't on this NY Times version of Cato letter opposing the stimulus plan is that I simply missed the opportunity to sign it. It probably showed up in my e-mailbox and I overlooked it.

I am a signatory on the on-line version.

gappy January 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

There are quite a few names missing. Probably the petition was organized in a hurry to make it relevant.

Speedmaster January 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm

The optimist in me would like to think that once he is made aware of this 'new' information, Obama will change course. ;-)

David January 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I'm glad that Cato was able to put this ad out, even though I'm skeptical that Washington will pay attention. Those against this bill have been marginalized since the beginning.

muirgeo January 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm

"Lower tax rates and a reduction in the
burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth. "

Coolidge, Reagan and Bush all did these things. Tax rates for Businesses and the wealthy are the lowest they've ever been… and where has it gotten us? We should do more of the same??? That's how we get INTO these economic depressions. I think Obama is talking about how we get out of depressions caused by such policies. How I wish there was a parallel world for these signers to have to their own.

The evidence suggest to me if we followed their advice we'd be looking at 20% or more unemployment.

Randy January 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Muirgeo,

You know, the folks on that list are real economists. You're not. And come to think of it, many of them are probably real doctors too…

Lee Kelly January 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm

So muirgeo, how do lower tax rates cause economic depressions? Please explain.

Methinks January 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Tax rates for Businesses and the wealthy are the lowest they've ever been… and where has it gotten us?

I'm starting to understand why there are so many malpractice lawsuits.

MnM January 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm

"I'm starting to understand why there are so many malpractice lawsuits."

Posted by: Methinks | Jan 28, 2009 4:11:03 PM

Just now? The bad grammar clued me in nearly a year ago.

Scott January 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm

That's a pretty distinguished list of ethics-free Republican hacks there! ;-)

Randy January 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Scott,

I do find this interesting as a political issue. The Republicans seem to be trying to position themselves as "the party of small government". I'm okay with that. It would be nice to actually have such a party.

MnM January 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Well said, Randy. Though I think it would be more accurate to say "It would be nice to actually have such a *viable* party."

modgen January 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Good thing the Republicans have performed so ably as small government enablers, when given the reins of power.

It's basically the choice between a party that wholeheartedly embraces government and a party that pretends occasionally to desire to shrink government, but only when pretending so would have no actual effect.

Scott January 28, 2009 at 6:59 pm

By saying "ethics-free Republican hacks", I was actually paying a tounge-in-cheek homage to this post.

But don't be fooled – this batch of Republicans (save Ron Paul) only espouse small-government principles when they have nothing to lose, just like modgen said.

Per Kurowski January 28, 2009 at 8:48 pm

And even in the case no economist would not be opposing the stimulus as such, most of them would say that in order for it to work three things are needed namely good implementation, good implementation and good implementation, and so it is truly worrying to hear so little discussions on what might be good implementation and what would definitely be bad implementation.

muirgeo January 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm
Babinich January 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

muirgeo on Jan 28, 2009 @ 2:58:45 PM

"Coolidge, Reagan and Bush all did these things. Tax rates for Businesses and the wealthy are the lowest they've ever been… and where has it gotten us? We should do more of the same??? That's how we get INTO these economic depressions."

Balderdash…

Christopher Renner January 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm

It seems to me that it's much easier to be considered an "economist" in the letter that muirgeo's cited than the one Don links to.

The latter consists solely of university faculty and a few Nobel Laureates; the former has numerous signatories from think tanks, at least one from the Service Employees International Union, and professors of "Labor Studies and Industrial Relations". You don't suppose that they would get any money from the stimulus plan, do you?

muirgeo January 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm

So muirgeo, how do lower tax rates cause economic depressions? Please explain.

Posted by: Lee Kelly

With massive tax cuts to the wealthy they accumulate a greater and great share of income and wealth. According to you conservatives this is good because now they have increased money to invest in things and grow the economy.

The problem arises such that as the riches share of wealth increases the share of wealth the masses have decreases. Thus the wealthy have no one to sell things made by their new investments. So then they instead invest in speculative ventures and bubble economies that ultimately lead to economic crashes and depressions which ultimately ring out any thing left of the middle class.

Oil Shock January 29, 2009 at 12:34 am

So then they instead invest in speculative ventures and bubble economies that ultimately lead to economic crashes and depressions which ultimately ring out any thing left of the middle class.

That is muirgeos theory of business cycle. Give him a Nobel prize already! I wouldn't be surprised if the Socialist Central Bank of Sweden actually did. BTW, the Nobel prize in economics is different from other Nobel Memorial prize awarded by the Nobel Foundation. The economics prize is awarded by Sveriges Riksbank, the elitist central bank of Sweden. They usually give it to apologists for central banking, exceptions could be counted on fingers of one hand.

jd January 29, 2009 at 1:03 am

Prof. Don,

You should be proud that not one professor from George Mason appeared on the pro-stimulus list.

Lee Kelly January 29, 2009 at 1:22 am

muirgeo,

When the already wealthy accumulate a greater share of new wealth, does everyone else become poorer? Are you aware that some people with low incomes are wealthier than those with high incomes?

Wealth is not a function of income, but rather of income after consumption. Some people with very high incomes live from pay cheque to pay cheque, and accumulate very little wealth. Others save a considerable portion of lower a lower income, and through investment come to control far greater wealth.

Try picking up The Millionaire Nextdoor. It is a little old now, but the principles are timeless.

vikingvista January 29, 2009 at 1:35 am

"So then they [the wealthy] instead invest in speculative ventures and bubble economies"

I thought it was the lower and middle income groups doing the bulk of speculating in real estate the last couple of years. I seem to recall the term "subprime" cropping up a lot. Do the wealthy take out subprime loans?

vikingvista January 29, 2009 at 1:59 am

"Wealth is not a function of income, but rather of income after consumption."

Look at after-tax after-subsidy income, and some of us would wonder why we work. Then adjust for age and years of deferred gratification and we be saying "Income gap? What income gap?"

Frederick Davies January 29, 2009 at 3:32 am

Muirgeo,

"…a reduction in the burden of government… Coolidge, Reagan and BUSH all did these things…"

Bush? I think not; get your facts straight before opening your mouth. Besides, since when is tax policy really up to the President; I seem to remember of a couple of bunches of guys who have to vote it all up or down.

Fred Foldvary January 29, 2009 at 9:53 am

"Nobody" is a political code word for "free market economists." When they say "nobody" opposes a giant spending plan, that's what it translates to. Also, "all" means "all except the nobodies," as in "all economists believe the government needs to spend money in order to stimulate a recovery."

Sam Grove January 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

The problem arises such that as the riches share of wealth increases the share of wealth
the masses have decreases.

But I could have sworn you said you were not a Marxist.

I see now why you do not comprehend our explanations. You seem to think that all the wealth held by the wealthy is in the form of consumables. The more the wealthy have, the less the rest have to consume.

This is mercantilist thinking, that the way to become wealthy is to take it from others. That's why political hierarchies are always oligarchical. The wealthy and the powerful are mostly the same people.

How much is Rohm Emanuel worth?

Sam Grove January 29, 2009 at 11:27 am

The problem arises such that as the riches share of wealth increases the share of wealth the masses have decreases.

I could have sworn that you claimed you were not Marxist.

There is only so much wealth available and the only way someone can have more is if someone else has less, right?

This is mercantilist thinking.

You seem to think that the wealth accumulated by the wealthy is in the form of consumables and the more they have, the less there is available for everyone else to consume. In fact, most of the wealth held by the wealthy is in title to property or merely account balances.

But mercantilist thinking is why political hierarchies are always oligarchies. The powerful and the wealth are often the same people.

How much is Rohm Emanuel worth?

Citizens think they have power over the situation via their measly votes?

The bigger the government, the more wealth is transferred up the pyramid.

Methinks January 29, 2009 at 2:55 pm

So muirgeo, how do lower tax rates cause economic depressions? Please explain. – Lee

The problem arises such that as the riches share of wealth increases the share of wealth the masses have decreases – UI

Lee, why bother asking Muirdiot? Just read Das Kapital and you'll have all your answers with the added bonus of reading better writing.

muirgeo January 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Do the wealthy take out subprime loans?

Posted by: vikingvista

Oh so maybe you've been on another planet these last couple of years. No the wealthy lend the money to ridiculously high risk borrowers once they got the laws changed so they could do so AND so they could repackage the loans into pieces of paper the value of which no one knew but which would surely would result in dividend checks arisiving to the pool side on a regular basis.

muirgeo January 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Look at after-tax after-subsidy income, and some of us would wonder why we work. Then adjust for age and years of deferred gratification and we be saying "Income gap? What income gap?"

Posted by: vikingvista

You work to support the super wealthy so they can sit pool side and make money to burn and then pay 15% in taxes while you get to pay 33% or more. Enough talk now back to work you.

muirgeo January 29, 2009 at 6:37 pm

methinks,

I know you don't like communsim and neither do I. But the history of the 20th century is one of revolution against society as you would like it to be. YOU will NEVER see a society as you would like because it will invariably lead to accumulation of power and wealth resulting in eventual revolution of the masses which ultimatly will result in dictatorships, communism or social democracy.

That's the fact. Those are your choices. Don't blame me that reality and your silly little fantasy world don't match up the way you demand of them… it's not my fault. I'm only trying to be a pragmatist here in the real world. I'm just trying to get your feet back here onto the ground where the real world is and where the real world people are.

You can fight reality all you want and hope and wish and pray for a libertopia but no such place exist for a reason. Given human nature it's impossible. The best bet is to refine the practice of social democracy. I am sorry you are so miserble here but you have no other choices and again it's not my fault.

Methinks January 29, 2009 at 8:21 pm

No the wealthy lend the money to ridiculously high risk borrowers once they got the laws changed so they could do so AND so they could repackage the loans into pieces of paper the value of which no one knew but which would surely would result in dividend checks arisiving to the pool side on a regular basis.

We need the muirdiots of the world to unite and choose the Nomenklatura whose understanding does not exceed this drivel to spend wealth created by others.

Methinks January 29, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I know you don't like communsim and neither do I.

Let's get one thing straight: I actually know what communism is and you don't have a clue. About anything. At all. Including your own profession. Communism is but one of the billions of things you're utterly clueless about and you have spent the past 18 months proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that you don't even have the ability, let alone desire, to learn. So, you can spew your usual, poorly written "libertopia", "imaginationland" and whatever other retarded garbage which flows so freely from the one fingertip with which you pound out your stupid posts and it won't change the fact that you are the thickest living thing I've ever encountered in my entire life.

It also won't change the fact that, in this country, they still let you vote. I hope you get what you voted for, George. And I hope you get it good and hard.

vikingvista January 29, 2009 at 8:44 pm

"No the wealthy lend the money to ridiculously high risk borrowers once they got the laws changed so they could do so"

The wealthy got the laws changed to force unwilling borrowers to take out risky loans? Do you have a reference to the law that requires someone to take out a loan that they don't want?

vikingvista January 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm

"You work to support the super wealthy so they can sit pool side and make money to burn and then pay 15% in taxes while you get to pay 33% or more."

Then you'll be willing to sign my 15% flat tax petition. Where can I mail it?

muirgeo January 29, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Let's get one thing straight: I actually know what communism is and you don't have a clue.

Posted by: Methinks

No actually you don't have a clue what communism because you seem to assert that people like me who support the democratic process are communist. You seem to assert that America is a communist country. That's so stupid it doesn't even rise to your standard fifth grade level of debate.

Loosely defining communism as you do is a disservice to the true nature that is the horror of communism. But when you are arguing from a position of ideological bankruptcy… coincidentally the same thing that has bankrupt our nation, you must act out of desperation and throw at your opponents the worst of names and hope that something sticks no matter how much you devalue the meaning of the word.

muirgeo January 29, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Do you have a reference to the law that requires someone to take out a loan that they don't want?

Posted by: vikingvista

Nope! Do you have a reference to the law that required Wall Street banks to leverage such ridiculous loans as much as 50 to 100 times over their actual value using complex opaque financial instruments such as OTC derivatives and CDO's?

No of course you don't but you're simply gonna deny the obvious problem that broke the bank because you have an ideology to defend.

Methinks January 30, 2009 at 8:34 am

No actually you don't have a clue what communism because you seem to assert that people like me who support the democratic process are communist.

People like you are too brain-dead to know what you "support". You are as ignorant as they come and you clearly haven't the intelligence to fix that.

Mesa Econoguy January 30, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Pro-stimulus economist… also with 3 noble laureates.
Posted by: muirgeo | Jan 28, 2009 9:16:07 PM

I outrank most of the people on this list.

Don, where can I sign?

Mesa Econoguy January 31, 2009 at 12:25 am

also with 3 noble laureates.
Posted by: muirgeo | Jan 28, 2009 9:16:07 PM

Is that like a noble gas?

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