More Than 40 Experts Issue Call For More Government Stimulus And Tax Credits

Online news site The Daily Beast is apparently tired of this whole “floundering economy” thing, so it got more than a dozen economists and historians to come together and issue a manifesto yesterday calling on the U.S. government to “reboot America.” By the end of the day, the number of experts supporting the manifesto increased to more than 40. They argue that the government has to help return lost purchasing power to the unemployed and must use tax cuts and stimulus to boost overall demand, or we’ll never make it out of this slump.

Making deficit reduction the first target, without addressing the chronic underlying deficiency of demand, is exactly the error of the 1930s. It will prolong the great recession, harm the social cohesion of the country, and continue inflicting unnecessary hardship on millions of Americans.

You can read the full manifesto at The Daily Beast.

“Reboot America–Manifesto Support Surges” [The Daily Beast]
“Political Wisdom: Time to Reboot America” [Wall Street Journal]

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  1. thezone says:

    Good luck passing anything that would further stimulate the economy with the Republicans in the senate. They are hurting the economy for their political gain. We need more spending and tax cuts (for the middle class) to get things moving in the right direction. The Republicans want more tax cuts for the top 2% and let the rest trickle down to the masses. This is just like the late 1930′s.

    • ThinkerTDM says:

      In the senate, there are 56 Democrats, and 41 Republicans. (In the House of Representatives, there are 255 Democrats, and 178 Republicans.)

      So with more Democrats than Republicans, how can they hold things up?

      Were you alive in the “late 1930′s”?

      • PunditGuy says:

        Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Welcome to the Senate rules.

        If you don’t remember the previous minority party having the same effect on the deliberative body, it’s because 1) they rarely act in lock step, and 2) they compromise. A lot.

        • Tim says:

          It’s because of the filibuster. And no majority party has ever used the filibuster as much as the Senate Republicans are doing now. It used to be that in everyday parlance, a 51 majority was all that was necessary. Now the standard is 60, because the Republicans will filibuster anything and everything.

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            I’d like to really see if Republicans are filibustering more than before. I seem to remember the whole bruhaha with the filibuster during the Bush years when debate was going on about the Republicans using the “nuclear” option to get around it.

            Funny, if the Democrats and media hadn’t shed crocodile tears, they’d not need to worry about the filibuster right now… shoe, other foot.

            But there is also one more big difference – the Republcians aren’t using the filibuster for non-legislative items. Most say that they won’t filibuster Kagan like the Democrats had many of Bush’s appointments.

            • NeverLetMeDown says:

              In fairness, the Democrats never filibustered, or even threatened to filibuster, a Supreme Court nominee. For lower-court judges, yes, as the Republicans have.

              Fundamentally, neither party’s hands are clean on this, and both are highly hypocritical about it.

            • grucifer says:

              Either way, it’s gotten to the point where it’s Republicans v. Democrats to see who has more power. Instead, these two dim-witted groups should be working together to solve the problems of our Country, not just saying “wait.. the [other side] suggested that?… I disapprove.”

              I feel like it’s gotten quite ridiculous how against each other each party has become instead of working together for the common good.

              • thezone says:

                Your point isn’t even close to fair. The Democrats have tried time and time again to negotiate with the Republicans. They won’t negotiate. They are playing politics with people’s lives. No Democratic minority has ever been close to being this bad.

            • Tim says:

              During the 111th Congress (January 2009-2011), the Senate hit its 100th filibuster in eleven months, the quickest in the history of the Senate. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/health/policy/21senatecnd.html?_r=1).

            • thezone says:

              First, here is a link to a graph showing the total filibusters since the 60′s http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/the-rise-of-cloture-how-gop-filibuster-threats-have-changed-the-senate.php

              Second, the Republicans were threatening the nuclear option when they had 51 votes. The Democrats have a much larger advantage and yet they are the bad guys. The Democrats from that congress had about half of the filibusters the Republicans did when Obama was elected.

              Finally, the Republicans have been holding up tons of Obama’s nominations. Saying they aren’t filibustering Kagan is disingenuous since the Democrats never filibustered any of Bush’s Supreme Court picks. You need to make apple to apple comparisons.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            That’s because they are a bunch of manipulative whiny a$$ sore losers.

      • ColHapablap says:

        It’s called a filibu-

        (I’m sorry, this post has not passed the cloture vote, and will not be completed.)

      • adamstew says:

        Have you heard of this thing called a filibuster? The democrats need 60 votes in the senate to defeat one in order to pass anything. As you’ve noted, they only have 56 votes in the senate (plus 2 independents), thus they need 2 republicans to also vote for their bill.

        If no republicans vote for there bill, the republicans can bring the country to a total stand-still. And they have. It’s what they’ve been trying to do since Obama took office.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          Excuses, excuses. If Harry Reid actually wanted to pass something, he’d find a way. But he’s too much of a wuss.

      • dcaslin says:

        You know any 41 vote group can filibuster things indefinitely right? So if all Republicans, or most Republicans and a few Democrats, oppose something, it’s blocked.

        There have been a few discussions of using other rules to get around this over the years, but the minority group always whines and threatens and the majority usually backs off (both Democratic and Republican minorities have done this over the years). Perhaps I’m biased, but Republicans seem to be genetically better suited to whining about unfairness to themselves.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          The most recent attempt was a response to Democratic objections to certain of Bush’s judicial nominees. There were real pieces of work, and shouldn’t have been confirmed at all, but the Republicans had the advantage back then. The threat at least looked pretty real that Dick Cheney (a sociopath that makes Dr. No seem almost human) would be summoned from his underground lair to make a pronouncement that cloture rules didn’t apply to anyone the President might send over for “advice and consent”. This on a simple majority vote.

          The response, of course, was the Gang of Eight, which got together and cut a deal where a few of the slightly less evil of the nominees would get an up or down vote in exchange for Majority Leader Bill Frist’s not summoning Darth Cheney to get the rules changed.

          Actually exercising the nuclear option should have been the very first item on the agenda as the 111th Congress convened. The Republicans would have screamed bloody murder, but they would have gotten exactly what they deserved. And the Senate would be down to passing trivial stuff like declaring “National Sliced Bread Week” while the economy chugged along, full steam ahead, toward full employment.

        • psm321 says:

          It would be nice if the leadership actually let a filibuster happen, with all the attendant publicity and media attention, instead of this bs “gentleman’s filibuster” where they just don’t bring legislation to the floor unless they have the 60 votes to close debate.

          • thezone says:

            I totally agree with you. The Democrats need to make the Republicans actually filibuster. Additionally, if a Democrat crosses the line to actually filibuster Reid needs to take them to the woodshed. It’s one thing to not vote for a bill from your party. It’s another to actively filibuster it.

      • thezone says:

        While I was not alive in the late 30′s I have the ability to do something called READ. If you read history books you will see that in the late 30′s the country was moving out of the depression. The conservatives wanted to cut spending and Roosevelt listened to them and cut spending. Unfortunately, the economy wasn’t ready and it suffered as a result.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          Wow, way to oversimplify, and, ultimately, end up reaching the wrong conclusion. Maybe you want to read that book again. Or find a different book.

      • crashfrog says:

        It’s called “the filibuster.”

        I mean, seriously – are you not aware that Republicans can insist on 60 votes for any legislation to pass? That that’s a power given to the minority party in the US Senate?

    • taney71 says:

      Yes, more government spending worked with the stimulus.

      • dreamfish says:

        Simplistic thinking works even better.

      • zandar says:

        Needs to be bigger. And more relevant.

        To work it has to affect everyone. and it has to be the start of something long lasting.

        You can deal with the deficit later, when the wheels are greased again.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Who cares what those elitist, overeducated experts who have studied economics for years and years have to say? They don’t know nothin about REAL people.

      • thezone says:

        Yeah. Let’s go down to the corner coffee shop and ask everyday people how to get the economy going. That make so much more sense than talking to people who have spent their entire lives and education studying economics. If you do that I think you should also go there for medical help. I hear banana cream pie is great for the flu.

    • EcPercy says:

      How much more money needs to be spent before everyone realizes that you can’t throw money at your problems and expect them to go away?

      http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/bailouttracker/

      Check the link. It’s a bailout tracker. They already have 11 Trillion allocated in bail outs. I think that’s more than enough.

    • James B says:

      Tax cuts make sense, but more spending? I think the gov’t spent plenty, and it clearly just artificially propped up the economy. Now that stimulus has run out, all the industries they inflated are deflating; we should print more money? Should we do more cash for clunkers programs? We need to fix our issues in this country, instead of just throwing money into a black hole. Our gov’t with regards to stimulus (and probably many other areas) meets the definition of insanity, which is doing the same action over-and-over expecting a different result!

  2. TheUncleBob says:

    Yes, US Government – Spend your way out of debt! That’s the American Way!

    • dbeahn says:

      Your sarcasm would have meaning, if not for the fact that there are many historical precedents that show government spending during recessions and depressions do bring the economy out of the slump.

      Perhaps you can make a witty comment next about how 2+2 really shouldn’t equal 4?

      • taney71 says:

        Name some.

        • thezone says:

          The great depression. Named!

          • leprechaunshawn says:

            The New Deal did not get us out of the Great Depression. The massive amounts of people put to work by WWII did.

            • thezone says:

              I answered this once already but you’re wrong. From 1933 through 1937 unemployment went down from 25% to under 15%. If it weren’t for Roosevelt listening to conservatives and cutting back spending in 1938 we may have gotten to 10% by the time we started getting ready for war in 1939. The economy was on track years before the war started. Of course WWII increased spending and helped the economy but it wasn’t the primary factor for the end of the great depression. Not even close. It was a mixture of economic policies from the mid 30′s. Look at the economic data. It’s pretty clear.

              • costanza007 says:

                just so we’re clear: increased gov’t spending = healthier economy.

                its as simple as saying “when dems block votes, its patriotic, when reps block votes, its teh eval”

                • thezone says:

                  Yes, during a recession targeted government spending can help prop up the economy while the private section recovers. It’s basic economics.

                  • dakeypoo says:

                    The success of a private economy is measured by its ability to produce the goods and services desired by the population. WWII, during its interval, does not measure well on this scale. This is the problem with saying the onset of the war ended the depression.

                    Government can- by borrowing, printing, conscripting, and rationing- produce any level of employment and output it desires, but that is no guarantee of true wealth generation. The meagerness of the citizenry’s consumption during the war years is the true measure of the economy’s output. The depression ended after the war due to the fact that the private sector had finished clearing its debt problems, the worst aspects of Roosevelt’s policies were allowed to lapse along with the additional price controls of the war, and the fact (pointed out by Rob Lyman last night) that uncertainty about future government intervention cleared considerably because the war had a discernible endpoint.

                    If one believes WWII ended the depression, then we can certainly raise the defense budget to 5 trillion dollars/year for the rest of Obama’s 1st term, ration all other goods and services strictly, conscript 40 million men and women, and pay them to sit on army bases all over the country. Prosperity is just around the bend, and we don’t even have to fight a world wide war.

                    • GuidedByLemons says:

                      Oof, it takes a special kind of obstinacy and disdain for reality to claim that WWII had no part in the economic recovery from the depression. Not even the head-in-the-sand “austerity now! (for no good reason we can come up with)” economists are with you on that one, I’m afraid.

                      If one believes WWII ended the depression, then we can certainly raise the defense budget to 5 trillion dollars/year for the rest of Obama’s 1st term, ration all other goods and services strictly, conscript 40 million men and women, and pay them to sit on army bases all over the country. Prosperity is just around the bend, and we don’t even have to fight a world wide war.

                      You know, the funny thing about this insufferable straw-man is that it would actually help. First, note this doesn’t remotely duplicate the WWII economy, which involved a huge upsurge in stateside manufacturing jobs. Now the rationing would be counterproductive, and the same money would be much better spent putting those people to work on things like road and transit infrastructure, but propping up demand by paying the unemployed to sit on their asses would be better than nothing. When there are 5 or 10 unemployed people for each job opening, unemployment benefits simply increase demand, which ultimately creates more jobs.

              • leprechaunshawn says:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Unemployment_1910-1960.gif

                According to this graph from the Wikipedia page about the New Deal, unemployment during the Great Depression went from a peak of about 22% in 1934 to about 16% towards the end of the New Deal spending in 1939. It fell all the way down to 2% during WWII. It seems pretty obvious to me that the New Deal certainly helped the economy by dropping unemployment from 22% to 16%. But during the war unemployment went from that 16% at the end of the New Deal down to about 2%. I guess it’s all in how you interpret the data but to me it looks like the economy really recovered during WWII.

                • thezone says:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression

                  The peak of unemployment was 25% and Roosevelt lowered it to just under 15% in 4 years. That’s nearly half of what it was. Of course the world war increased government spending and we got out of the depression. However, the economic policies of the new deal were on their way to doing that already.

                  In fact in your graph you see a jump right before WWII that was when Roosevelt listened to the conservatives and rolled back some of the new deal. Once he lowered spending unemployment went back up. Of course all the spending of WWII quickly lowered the unemployment rate. But that does not mean it was the catalyst of the end of the depression. When following the policies of the new deal we were well on our way back to prosperity. WWII just shortened the trip.

            • GuidedByLemons says:

              And WWII put people to work how? Through massive government spending on the instruments of war. You are seriously thickheaded if you name WWII as evidence that stimulus spending doesn’t reduce unemployment in a depression. The cognitive dissonance here absolutely boggles my mind.

            • zandar says:

              that old saw. look at the real numbers- it did not produce a full recovery because it was not given the time to work, not because WWII was NEEDED in any way. Look at the GDP for the depression years. Numbers starting going up IMMEDIATELY after the new deal began.

              LOOK IT UP.

            • psm321 says:

              I love it when conservatives pull out this myth. First of all, it’s a myth. But more importantly, even in your version of events, how did WWII bring the country out of Depression? That’s right, spending! Lots and lots of government spending.

      • zandar says:

        thank you for posting this. it is an established fact and no one seems to believe facts any more.

    • Commenter24 says:

      It’s more like “borrow your way out of debt!”

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      I guess they truly believe the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

    • dakeypoo says:

      The success of a private economy is measured by its ability to produce the goods and services desired by the population. WWII, during its interval, does not measure well on this scale. This is the problem with saying the onset of the war ended the depression.

      Government can- by borrowing, printing, conscripting, and rationing- produce any level of employment and output it desires, but that is no guarantee of true wealth generation. The meagerness of the citizenry’s consumption during the war years is the true measure of the economy’s output. The depression ended after the war due to the fact that the private sector had finished clearing its debt problems, the worst aspects of Roosevelt’s policies were allowed to lapse along with the additional price controls of the war, and the fact (pointed out by Rob Lyman last night) that uncertainty about future government intervention cleared considerably because the war had a discernible endpoint.

      If one believes WWII ended the depression, then we can certainly raise the defense budget to 5 trillion dollars/year for the rest of Obama’s 1st term, ration all other goods and services strictly, conscript 40 million men and women, and pay them to sit on army bases all over the country. Prosperity is just around the bend, and we don’t even have to fight a world wide war.

  3. Putts says:

    Every time I find myself in a bad financial situation, I find that reducing my income and increasing my spending is the best way to get myself out of that mess.

    • ColHapablap says:

      Since you are clearly also a country that can lend itself money at historically-low interest rates, I envy your fortitude.

    • grucifer says:

      The government does not represent a single consumer. Where it doesn’t make sense for YOU to spend more when you make less, if the government can spark business and create jobs for its citizens the idea is, companies grow and make money and workers work and make money. Everyone pays taxes and spends and the government gets back that money spent and more when times were tough.

    • zandar says:

      if only we had to worry about you. are you also an economist?

  4. ColHapablap says:

    What we need is another World War 2, cuz these Middle Eastern wars aren’t cutting it. Maybe we can rope in Germany and other countries to do a massive, world-wide reenactment of WW2?

  5. Jabberkaty says:

    Wait… Tax cuts AND stimulus? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? And, I’m just saying, shouldn’t we at least finish passing out the last round of “stimulus” money before we start collecting more?

    Of course, I still fail to see how taxing the hell out of those that are still employed will help the economy recover.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      The vast majority of U.S. are paying the lowest federal income taxes in fifty years. Nobody is talking about a tax increase here; indeed, it’s a tax CREDIT.

      Don’t let silly things like “facts” get in your way, though.

      • thezone says:

        Good point Otto. Jabberkaty is just angry that the last credits and tax breaks didn’t go disproportionally to the top earners like the Bush tax cuts did.

  6. Tim says:

    Psh. Those are just economists/academics. They don’t know anything about real ‘Murrka.

    To learn about how real ‘Murrka wants to get out of the worst recession since the 1930s, you have to ask the lobbyists. They’ll tell you that real ‘Murrka wants the government to stop all new regulations for a year.

    • ColHapablap says:

      I’m most surprised that Paul Krugman’s name isn’t on that list yet. He’s been saying all this for the last 2 years.

  7. dolemite says:

    I’m all for letting people keep more of what they earn (as long as they aren’t that top 5% that is hoarding like 70% of the nation’s wealth while paying their employees peanuts…ahem Walmart and the like).

  8. Narmical says:

    Stimuluses don’t work! We already tried that, and it didn’t work, so lets do it bigger and better this time! sounds like a great idea.

    /sarcasm off

    Seriously, a tax cut would be awesome only if it was permanent and the government cut there budget accordingly.

    • Tightlines says:

      If by didn’t work you mean “raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.2 percent, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points, increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million, and increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 1.8 million to 4.1 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise,” you’re right, it didn’t work.

      http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=967

      • taney71 says:

        Yes, the CBO is the institution to quote from. The same place that has had to state new numbers on the healthcare law and hasn’t gotten much right ever.

        • thezone says:

          I guess you would like to quote from conservative think tanks. The CBO is the scoring mechanism of the government. They are independent and they don’t get everything wrong. As they get more information they become more accurate. But I guess you would rather use conjecture and innuendo to make all of our economic decisions.

  9. Hoss says:

    This ain’t entirely a US issue — it’s the world economy, but sure US has a driver’s seat. Whatever the government can do to stabilize the economy such that there is no further erosion of jobs is certainly appropriate. And we should ease the pain by extending support to those out of a job. But in terms of a jolt to improve things — please don’t! These things never work, and some never go away, burdening the economy over good times and bad.

    I don’t think that it’s a bad thing that young Americans experience a terribly sour economy. We had a full two decades ending on 9/11/01 where Americans lacked savings, thinking their true investment was a house. We had college grads earning six figures in their first real job. And we had an America that disdained concepts like immigration, homelessness, and other situations that seemed out of touch but we had an economy that could sell TVs and tech gadgets for thousands of dollars, and replaced with a new one in a year or two.

    Let the bad bleed out, we can adapt. Do what we can to comfort the less fortunate. And certainly extend benefits. But don’t spend billions on a CCC-type project or some other stimulus please.!

    • thezone says:

      Please cite your examples of how spending during a recession never works. I have the Great Depression as my proof. Also, the last stimulus helped the economy but it wasn’t big enough. But if you have some historical facts you would like to post please do.

      • Hoss says:

        The stimulus that made the depression go away was called WWII.

        • thezone says:

          Wrong. The economy was growing before WWII. From 1933 through 1937 unemployment went from 25% to just under 15%. At that point conservative politicians thought we were out of the woods and wanted Roosevelt to stop stimulating the economy and start balancing the budget. Unfortunately, he listened and cut spending. This forced unemployment to go up again. But for 4 out of 5 years before the war effort the economy was getting better. Government spending allowed people to get back to work. These people could buy things from private businesses who could then hire more people who could buy things … I think you get the point. WWII did spur an already healing economy. It did not take us out of our darkest hour.

          • Hoss says:

            If 15% unemployment was recovered, then we’re ok at 10%

            • thezone says:

              Where did I say it was recovered? In fact I specifically stated that Roosevelt listened to the conservatives to the detriment of the economy. While the economy had not recovered it was recovering. But the numbers show that WWII was not the primary stimulus that fixed the Great Depression. If we needed WWII you would not have seen unemployment nearly halved in 4 years. The war helped increase the economy but it wasn’t the primary factor. That was the years before of economic stimulus and reform.

  10. TuxthePenguin says:

    I’ve always wondered – what would people rather?

    Government spend at 15% of GDP with revenues of 13% or spending and revenues at 30% of GDP… I know which one more economics would choose.

  11. AgostoBehemoth says:

    This administration is mostly composed of academics.

    It is business and not academia that hires the millions of people necessary to reverse our job losses, policy folk without real world experience are mystified that their policies are causing the situation we see now. Instead of “economists” and “experts” we need to get the ceo’s & presidents of mid-sized companies together and hear what they think. Not the GE or GM CEO, but an average business-park sized company.

    Think about the gooberment’s answer to bailing out GM & ChryCo – close 5000 dealerships…. but who sells their cars? I can’t by a car direct from Chrysler, but I used to be able to buy one from my local, family owned (50+ yrs old & profitable) dealership. But they were shut down, so the salesmen, the finance foks, the service people – about 30 good people, all lost their jobs.

    The answer is to stop spending – when the government falsley props up the consumer side, it does not create confidence in the supply side. Only true growth will convince banks to open credit lines & manufacturers to begin expanding.

    - and – fyi, I blame both political parties… they are equally to blame – take a look at the Fannie & Freddie balance sheets some time and see just how those sub-prime loans were dealt out. In 2000, 50% of their loans were subprime, in 2008 it was up to 56%. Thanks Clinton & Bush, thanks HUD, thanks Congress (blue & red). But, you know, it’s NEVER the goverments fault….. they’re the answer to our problem, just ask them.

    • Tim says:

      So you’re basically saying that since business people run businesses, and you believe that businesses run this country, business people should decide what this county does.

      Of course, businesses don’t run this country. Government does. Business people don’t want the country to be successful. They don’t want to hire people. They want profit, and if those two previous things happen to come along with profit, great. If not, so what.

      So that’s why government makes governing decisions and business makes business decisions. Government’s job is to do what is best for the country, not for businesses’ profits.

    • dolemite says:

      Chrysler (along with others) received bailouts that kept them from going bankrupt. They make terrible cars that virtually no one under the age of 70 wants to buy (outside of the Jeep line). And I am a car guy, so I am well aware of their line. There is no car you could buy from them that you can’t get a similar car that is better made, better designed and better priced from almost any other company. Do they get a government bailout every 20 years to keep running? They should have folded long ago with their shoddy products. To complain about the government closing a few dealerships and costing a few jobs when the entire company should have gone under seems a bit off. Sorry, my mom has a Chrylser Sebring, and it is honestly complete and utter junk.

  12. cmdr.sass says:

    Sorry “experts”, but I’m down to my last billion dollars.

  13. chaesar says:

    I love stories like this, they bring all the armchair historians and economists out of the woodwork

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      yeah. The worst is when it’s at work.
      And those people are all Christian Tea Party-ers who cite Fox News.

      • costanza007 says:

        but hey if you’re working for the gov’t, you’re part of the solution. except keith olbermann, he is a righteous dude.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Yes, damned those stupid educated elitist arm chair people who actually read up about topics like economics and history then dare to have something to say in a discussion about it.

      • Tim says:

        I think that by calling them “armchair” economists and historians, s/he wasn’t referring to the actual, professional, tenured, university-employed economists and historians. I think s/he was referring to people responding to those people.

  14. jsl4980 says:

    Hey can your next post say “Experts agree, when you’re broke and in a lot of debt get another credit card!”

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Except that credit card debt has actually gone down recently and savings have gone up for much of America.

  15. TheMonkeyKing says:

    I find it unappetizing to hear not of making Americas more independent, thrifty, and employed but of giving money to those who don’t have it so they can spend on consumption.

    We created, bought in to, or beleived in a false premise of mass consumption. We all (me included) wanted the bigger house, the better car, more TV channels. Did we want it at a cheaper cost? Most assuredly we did. But how to pay for it? We had fluff or artifically created environment to meet demand. Oh, and we wanted profit. We wanted double digit returns on our investments. Savings plan? We killed it because of measly 1.3% returns.

    If we truly want to “reboot” the economy, we need to reset it to realistic values. Not everyone gets a McMansion. Not everyone gets more that 9% return on investments. Not everyone makes six figures.

    For myself, I’ve done without cable/sat TV for six years (net savings=$5K). I’ve done without a new vehicle since 1994 (net savings=$40K). I shop when I need new clothes or when the pantry is empty, not because I must go out and have the latest fashion or try the newest microwavable food item.

    I do go out to movies and concerts and sporting events. I do have a cellphone with a data plan. But these items I budgeted for and paid off my credit card.

    I challenge these same experts not to create short term jons (construction) but to come with fresh ideas on what employment really means and what needs can be met on the community/state level. I want sustainable ideas, not just cash to someone gets a real job. It hasn’t worked out so far has it?

    • TheMonkeyKing says:

      My spelling is atrocious. I need to proofread before posting.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I agree that it doesn’t seem to make sense to give the unemployed more money to spend. I think it makes more sense to create permanent positions in the workforce, so that the unemployed can become employed. This way, the money will still get to the current unemployed, but it will be in a more beneficial way. Public benefits, or welfare, or work-supports, or whatever you want to call it work in a similar fashion, because people are required to either work or get job training while receiving benefits.

      And I think that a lot of the stimulus did create new-permanent jobs in America. Take for example jobs that were created in the biomedical field. Many grants were created to fund research at universities and other such places, which will create long-term jobs that will allow people to also gain valuable experience.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        And to create those permanent positions in the workforce, you have to do….what? Oh, I know. Create demand for something that requires labor. And how do you do that?

        Correct me if I’m completely full of it, but in order to collect unemployment, you have to be actually looking for a job. This is usually measured by number of interviews gone to, number of resumes sent out, attendance at job fairs, resume writing/interviewing workshops, job training courses, etc. You don’t just get it for sitting on your ass, or just saying you interviewed for a job at Vandalay Industries. It just doesn’t work like that.

    • Tim says:

      Not that I’m disagreeing, or even agreeing, with you, but the United States became the economic superpower it is on the idea of mass consumption and cheap loans for more mass consumption.

      The American dream includes a house, which costs a crapload of money. If it’s the American dream, doesn’t that mean that every American should have it?

      Good luck changing that. But allowing our economy to go into another depression is not that right way to go about changing that. And hell, it probably wouldn’t even accomplish that.

    • GuidedByLemons says:

      “I want sustainable ideas, not just cash to someone gets a real job.”

      Stimulus to reduce unemployment is a sustainable idea. Employment fuels economic growth, which fuels employment, which fuels growth, until the economy is healthy enough that short-term institutional interest rates can rise above zero and the economy can stand on its own without further support from federal dollars. Folksy wisdom about “sustainable employment ideas” sounds lovely but is complete bunk, totally without substance.

      When you say you do without luxuries you completely miss the point: do you do without a job? No? Because unemployment is the actual problem here.

      • TheMonkeyKing says:

        In my state, much of the stimulus went for road construction. It is not a permanent job. It also went for home improvements. While that will people in the long run with home ownership costs, it still required money from the buyer.

        Sustainable business are almost impossible to know in advance. I know this. Also, it’s hard to trend something even as short as 24 months down the road (meaning re-education of the workforce in a community college setting) for jobs. My ideas are more radical. Give money, or if possible, reduce the tax burden and unemployment tax for small businesses to zero for the next three years. Smaller business are more local and more in tune with the local markets. Trying to pay for state-wide or national programs are less effective in my opinion.

        By creating a tax-free haven for small businesses we bring back individual markets that were absorbed by mega malls and super stores. Example: a Super WalMart has a grocery store, automotive store, clothing store, eye care store, craft store and a pet store in it. Break up that monopoly with individual businesses and you have more employment, greater market choice, and bigger local tax base (profits don’t necessarily leave the state). Yes, this will cause a huge backlash with the huge chain businesses, but life isn’t fair.Oh, and yes, I’m sure there will be a large amount of graft and corruption with fake small businesses. But then couldn’t we also fund our state/national investigation units to watchdog for possible fraud?

        • GuidedByLemons says:

          Small businesses are nice, but tax cuts (even to small businesses) offer a lower economic multiplier ($s spent to net economic activity) than things like unemployment benefits, funding to state programs, and direct spending on construction projects. Temporary work is still work, and the way to create permanent jobs is to create a vibrant economy by reducing unemployment ASAP. And of course, w.r.t. small businesses, big employers are also hugely important to the employment market.

          You’re offering armchair musings as if by merely sounding meaningful they offer better hope for repairing the economy than the best ideas of macroeconomists who have studied these problems in depth.

        • thezone says:

          Obama did give tax breaks to small businesses. He has also proposed eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses. You may slight building roads but the infrastructure of the US is getting worse. States can’t afford the projects so the federal government is stepping in. There is now a job to build the road. And that creates a job to make the asphalt and to make the heavy equipment and to make the paint for the lines and the steel rods for reinforcement. All those people can keep their jobs and buy other goods and services. There is a better multiplier effect than removing taxes for small businesses. Without demand no smart business owner is going to hire. Government spending helps start that demand.

  16. smo0 says:

    I’ll spend more when the CEOs of these said company’s give more back to the community instead of raking in billions a year.
    From a stock holder perscpective – what are you really getting?
    We don’t make anything anymore – there’s no way what we’re spending is going back into OUR economy.
    Throw all of the money you want at it… it doesn’t change the situation…

  17. Jack Handy Manny says:

    I disagree with this. I think that the Government shouldn’t do anything to artificially prop up the economy. However, if it is inevitable, I say we give stimulus directly to our public schools. They seem to be hit pretty hard by the economy. We have roofs that need to be replaced, the threat of PE classes being cut, no music for elementary kids as well as days being cut and teachers loosing jobs.

    If stimulus money was used to fix a problem rather than just trying to get money into the system…I could be down with that. I just see a problem with throwing pork around while we shut schools down a week or two early in order to make the budget.

    • thezone says:

      You don’t think that the government should help prop up the economy but you think they should give money to schools? You are arguing against yourself. Stimulus money should target things like infrastructure (which includes schools). The tax breaks for the middle class also helps by giving the general public a little more money to spend. It isn’t about pork. It’s about putting money where it will help create the most jobs.

  18. montusama says:

    I’ve read a bunch of comments and with what my opinion is.
    Yes government spending will help create jobs and spending at the consumer level.
    Tax credits will help people but in the end who will it help? the average “joe” or the wealthy?
    I’m pretty certain that during the Great Depression the government employed people directly through its public works programs and not by “giving” money to corporation who will in turn eventually hire people.

  19. jurupa says:

    Oh goody lets spend money we don’t have! What a great idea, not. Why do so many people think Keynesian economics works? Hasn’t history shown spending one way out of a hole does not work?

  20. maztec says:

    “Our economy is floundering, we must find a way to save it!”
    “How about we cut taxes in order to let people keep more of their money, so they can spend more?”
    “Great idea!”
    Tax Credits – Check!

    “Wait, that’s not enough.”
    “Okay, then what else do we need to do?”
    “Let’s give out money and put it in a stimulus fund, so people have more money and can spend it!”
    “Wait, so we increase spending while decreasing income?”
    “Yes! That will save America!”
    “Sounds like a great idea! Let’s do it!”

    10 months later:
    “I can’t believe the Government has caused such a large deficit.”
    “Yah, let’s vote for our own party next time. Fry the bastards!”

    Because, of course, it is a great idea to decrease income while increasing spending. That is what drives the U.S. credit market!

    • thezone says:

      Unlike individuals Governments need to increase spending during economic downturns. It’s basic economics. It worked for the Great Depression and it will work for the Great Recession.

  21. nerble says:

    Hmm… That last plan didn’t work out well. Let’s do the same thing only three times as much.

  22. Jimmy37 says:

    Anything the Daily Beast puts out is going to be a left-wing liberal manifesto. Keeps spending money you don’t have. Keep going further and further into debt, supporting useless programs. The typical liberal Democrat action. If what you did didnt’ work, it was because you didn’t spend enough money, so throw more money at it. Democrats never ever learn. We’ve spent hundreds of billions on the War on Poverty and all we have to show for it is 5th-generation welfare babies and millions of unemployed.

    • PunditGuy says:

      No, you’ve got a non-starving population to show for it. The war on poverty has been a rousing success, completely unlike the war on drugs or the war on Iraq/Afghanistan.

      What would you like to cut?

    • thezone says:

      I guess going from 700000 jobs a month lost to a net gain of jobs isn’t making progress. By the way the average person on welfare is on it for less than 3 years and as far as I can tell we haven’t had people on welfare for 100 to 125 years (which would be needed for 5th generation welfare babies). I guess next you will be talking about all those welfare queens with Cadillacs and big screen tvs.

      Typical right wing lies. So easy to disprove it’s barely worth the effort.

  23. RogueWarrior65 says:

    When are these morons going to realize that the wealth that just happens to be backed by dollars isn’t created by the government and doesn’t belong to them either? *facepalm*

  24. Chigaimasmaro says:

    Would it be possible to skip the tax cuts and just bail out the country like they did with AIG and the other companies? We’re already a pretty consumer based economy, why not just keep it going by giving people the money to spend?

  25. Mr Fife says:

    “Expert” is a much overused word in the media.