Economists Only Harry Truman Could Love
In their December 16th column, UD economists Stacie Beck and Eleanor Craig demonstrate a trait sought by President Harry Truman, when he said “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, On the one hand on the other.” Of course it is easy for an economist to give a seemingly clear review such as Beck/Craig, when they stick to one-sided ideological views, and refuse to present the larger picture.
The failure of Beck/Craig to present an impartial view begins in their first two paragraphs. They state that the stimulus package has been a failure. Sure, that is a common Republican talking-point, but where is the support? They point out that the unemployment rate has risen this year to 10 percent, but they fail to note that weekly claims for the newly unemployed have fallen 44%, from 956,791 in early January to 531,743 last month. You don’t start bailing out your boat until you fix the leak. The leak has been fixed by the stimulus packages (promoted by both Bush and Obama), and most of us are working on getting the water out of the boat.
The reason that many ‘other industrialized countries’ have ‘rejected US-style stimulus spending’ is that they have stronger social systems (yes, read socialist), including much stronger unemployment benefits. In a sense, they passed US-style stimulus spending decades ago. I'm not promoting that approach, but I'm questioning why the associate professors failed to share that.
Was their purpose to illuminate or mislead? President Truman died in 1972. Who are Beck/Craig trying to impress?
Paul Baumbach, CFA, CFP(R), ChFC