Out of Control Policy Blog

Consensus on the stimulus plan? What consensus?

The Cato Institute has published a list of 323 economists (and counting) that disagree with the current stimulus plan to focus on government spending to stimulate the economy. The economists represent dozens of colleges and universities, including faculty from Harvard, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, George Mason University, Duke University, Northwestern University, UCLA, New York University, University of Chicago, Ohio State, Ohio University, and others. Names include such prominent scholars as Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith, Barry Chiswick, Deirdre McCloskey, Michale Marlow, Kenneth Elzinga, Barry Poulson, Willliam Shugart and William Poole.

Each has signed on to the following statement:

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's "lost decade" in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policy makers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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