I think about the stimulus as an economist but I feel it as a father. Barack Obama is destroying my daughters' future. It is like sitting there watching my house ransacked by a gang of thugs. That's how I feel, now back to how I think.[Note: this is the quote that originally appeared at the link above. The linked article now has a more accurate quote with additional context.]
(via whom came the quote above):
… this isn't a "stimulus" plan. It's a grow-governent-and-make-us-all-increasingly-dependent-on-it plan.
Gary Becker (Nobel in Economics) and Kevin Murphy:
Our own view is that the short-term stimulus from the legislation before Congress will be smaller per dollar spent than is expected by many others because the package tries to combine short-term stimulus with long-term benefits to the economy. Unfortunately, short-term and long-term gains are in considerable conflict with each other. Moreover, it is very hard to spend wisely large sums in short periods of time. Nor can one ever forget that spending is not free, and ultimately it has to be financed by higher taxes.
Barack Obama's most bizarre argument is that "the policies of the past eight years," SPECIFICALLY the big deficits and debt, are responsible for getting us into this mess, so the answer is to add far more to the deficit and debt. This isn't "hair of the dog that bit you," it's "the bite of a pit bull (to cure) the dog's hair that made you sneeze."
Good politics requires action, constant proof that the politician is working tirelessly.
Good economics requires quiet consistency so people can plan for the future.
The times we live in are the greatest example in my lifetime of the tension between these two goals.
Finally, the president bought into the "Government as Santa Claus" theory with his statement that "the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life." In reality, the federal government is broke. It has no "resources" left, and will run a $1 trillion deficit this year even without a stimulus. Besides, any resources that the government spends must be vacuumed out of the private economy through borrowing and taxes, which is particularly damaging when the private economy is already suffering from recession.
With the president adopting his predecessor's strategy of attempting to scare Congress into approving a bad bill by warning of financial doom, it's worth remembering that the proposed "stimulus" package is about politics, not economics. If the proposed spending was worthwhile, it would be silly to fuss about whether the total comes to $800 billion, $900 billion, or $1 trillion. If we really can't afford $1 trillion, then how can we afford $900 billion or $800 billion? In fact, the basic goal for most legislators is just to spend as much money as feasible as quickly as possible.
… once you get past all the mumbo jumbo, it seems to me that there is one thing we can know with confidence about deficit spending on stimulus: it will, in part, transfer wealth from future generations to our own. Of course, if you're reading this, and you're, say, 24 years old, then that should read as "transfer wealth from you to a bunch of Baby Boomers".
An OK modern-day terrorism thriller.
Don Cheadle plays Samir Horn. When we first see him, it's as a child in Sudan, watching his daddy get blown up by a car bomb. We then immediately jump forward to modern-day Yemen, and he's negotiating with some bad guys to sell them some Semtex. Unfortunately for him and the bad guys, the Yemeni authorities swoop in, shooting up many terrorists (yay!) and carting the rest of them off to Yemeni jail.
That is, of course, not the end of it. Samir is suspected of betrayal by the bad guys, but (convincingly enough) he argues that he's in jail, and why would that be, if he's talking to the authorities? If you've seen enough of these movies, you know the probable answer: because he's staying undercover to catch even bigger fish. (Hope that's not a spoiler, but c'mon: did you think that the major star of the movie is going to play a terrorist?) As another complication, only one other person knows Samir is really undercover; everyone else on our side "knows" he's a terrorist.
What follows is globe-hopping cat-and-mousery between good guys and bad, well-acted and pretty suspenseful. To it's major credit, Traitor stays away from the whole lefty moral equivalence plague-on-both-houses Hollywood tropes: the bad guys are Muslims, and while one of them, Samir's best buddy, approaches three-dimensionality as a character, he's still unambiguously on the wrong side.
Interesting bit of trivia: Steve Martin gets credit for "story" and "executive producer" here. Yes, that Steve Martin.