Simple Minds Offer Simple Analysis

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & DeficitLeave a Comment

Once again, the crack bloggers at Patterico's Ponitification are showing their stupidity.

It's Aaron "Not My Real Name" Worthing, touting this chart which is making the rounds on conservative blogs:

and then writing this:

So once again, we are shown that things are worse than they predicted if we did nothing.  I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating–over and over until we have new people in charge.  Logically there are only two explanations for why things are the way they are:

  1. Either the Obama administration stinks at making predictions; or
  2. They’re making it worse.

That’s it.  There is no third option.  And either way, it leads us to the same conclusion: they need to stop what they are doing.  The reason why option #2 leads to that was obvious, but the reason why option #1 leads there is less so.  The reason why their inability to predict accurately proves they need to stop is simply that if they can’t predict the future, then they can’t possibly know what the effects of their policies would be.

Poor Aaron.  The small print and details befuddle him.

Let's look at the source for the lines in the graph, shall we?  The "with stimulus" line is based on "The Job Impact of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Plan", a position paper put out by Jared Bernstein, Office of the Vice President-elect. The paper was released on January 9, 2009.  Before Obama took office.

Was this the stimulus plan presented to Congress by Obama?  No.

Did Congress pass Obama's plan as stated?  No.  They passed something else, as a result of congressional wrangling and compromise.

Let me repeat that: Obama's stimulus plan represented in the graph above was not passed by Congress, so we can't SAY how well or poorly it "actually did". 

Logically there are only two explanations for why Aaron neglected to point this out:

  1. He's a lying hack
  2. He's a lazy non-thinking blogger.

That’s it.  There is no third option.

Anyway, armed with the faulty premise, Aaron comes to the conclusion that the best thing for the government to do in this recession… is to do nothing. 

Part of the problem is that economic predictions is not an exact science.  There is probably a 2-3% margin of error with any economic forecast prediction, which makes the above graph virtually meaningless.

And despite Worthing's attempt to narrow the choices to either (a) Obama stinks at making predictions or (b) "Obama's" stimulus made things worse, there is a strong argument for (c) that the reason the stimulus didn't do better was because it was watered down by Congress, with not enough spending, and too many tax cuts.  

Even then, there's no question that the stimulus actually DID create and save jobs; the problem (I submit) is that iit didn't stimulate enough to get us out from the recession.  Instead, it helped us avoid a depression.

And that was worthwhile, wasn't it?