Throughout 2008 Larry Summers was proposing the right kind of stimulus—fast, targeted, and temporary. “Poorly provided fiscal stimulus can have worse side effects than the disease,” he warned. Now Summers is a top Obama adviser, but Democrats are ignoring his every proviso. The stimulus is a “sprawling, lobbyist-driven mess that does nothing well,” writes David Brooks of the New York Times, and the side effects will be awful.
The Democrats’ bill is a mish-mash of temporary measures and permanent ones, of the targeted and the untargeted. Obviously Democrats were trying to push through an agenda they believe in, but it’s insane to try to tackle dozens of problems and a complicated recession in one bill. Measures are left open-ended and nothing is paid for. It’s a fiscal quagmire, and “there is no exit strategy.”