Barack Obama gave his first news conference last night and spread the left's vision of doom-and-gloom, warning of a "lost decade" if we didn't act quickly to stem the faltering economy. Pointedly, he stated that the "Federal Government is the only remaining option to jolt the economy", and criticized Republicans for wanting to focus on tax cuts as a means of stimulating growth. Just what you would expect a socialist to say. Government is the answer -- the only answer -- to that which ills us... And now comes some truth about the vaunted stimulus package, from the mouth of a Harvard economist with solid liberal credentials, Robert Barro (this excerpted from an interview in the Atlantic Magazine courtesy of the WSJ):
Barro: This is probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s. I don't know what to say. I mean it's wasting a tremendous amount of money. It has some simplistic theory that I don't think will work, so I don't think the expenditure stuff is going to have the intended effect. I don't think it will expand the economy. And the tax cutting isn't really geared toward incentives. It's not really geared to lowering tax rates; it's more along the lines of throwing money at people. On both sides I think it's garbage. So in terms of balance between the two it doesn't really matter that much.
Atlantic: Well, presumably Larry Summers is not an idiot.
Barro: [laughs] That is another conversation. I have known him for 25 years, and I have opinions about that.
Atlantic: Well, presumably Christina Romer is not an idiot if you're . . .
Barro: They've brought in some reasonable people in terms of economic advisers. I don't know what impact they're having, and I suppose they have different views on Keynesian macroeconomics than I have. But I'm giving you my opinion about it.