Posts Tagged ‘prolonged’

April 8 CNNMoney Headline: ‘Jobless Claims Soar’

April 9, 2010

Let’s see: new home sales plunge to their lowest levels since 1963, while jobless claims soared to the highest levels seen since December 2008 (when Obama was routinely comparing the economy to the Great Depression).

Clearly, everything is just going swimmingly under Barry Hussein.

Jobless claims soar
By Chavon Sutton, staff reporterApril 8, 2010: 11:59 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance for the first time jumped last week, according to government data released Thursday.

There were 460,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 3, up 18,000 from an upwardly revised 442,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report. […]

The report also said that 4,550,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended March 27, the most recent data available. That figure, the lowest level since Dec. 20, 2008, was down 131,000 from the preceding week’s 4,681,000 claims, and below the 4.63 million economists expected, according to Briefing.com.

The 4-week moving average for continuing claims was 4,648,250, a decrease of 36,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,684,250.

Continuing claims data exclude people whose benefits expired or those who have moved to state or federal extensions. It reflects those filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks.

The numbers forced the Associated Press to trot out their favorite Obama-apologist adverb.  They said “jobless claims increased ‘unexpectedly.’

Last week Obama was trumpeting government unemployment numbers that did not budge the 9.7% unemployment rate as if all his asinine policies had somehow been vindicated:

“Today is a promising day,” Mr. Obama told workers assembled inside Celgard LLC, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company that makes parts for high-tech batteries. “We are beginning to turn around. More Americans are now getting up, getting dressed and going to work.”

But however the government did its calculations, private payrolls actually fell in March.

The illusory numbers Obama trumpeted were front-page headlines for the major media.  But then the usual “unexpected” revisions come, and the liberal propaganda machine suddenly loses interest in the story.

Meanwhile, underemployment, which many economists view as the “real” unemployment measure, increased to 20.3%.  When people give up looking for work, or finally give up and settle for a job far beneath their potential, they “fall” off the jobless rolls.  We could actually have Great Depression unemployment levels, and still show artificially low unemployment numbers. Discouraged workers who give up are not counted in official unemployment statistics, and over a million unemployed workers aren’t being counted.

The fact is that a total of 6,130,000 workers had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more in December 2009, the most ever since the data were first collected in 1948, and more than double the 2,612,000 unemployed for a similar length of time only a year ago.  Does that sound like Obama is succeeding???

People said of the Great Depression: “It wasn’t so bad if you had a job.”  FDR kept optimistically promising that relief was just around the corner.  Meanwhile, his policies prolonged the depression by seven years until finally even his own Treasury Secretary said:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

In April 1939 unemployment was 20.7%.

Obama keeps telling us how magnificently we are recovering, and the dinosaur lamestream media keeps reporting it as if it were true.

Meanwhile he keeps piling on shocking and totally unsustainable deficit levels that will ultimately implode the U.S. into a Great Depression unlike anything we have ever seen.

But under Obama, unsustainable is the new normal.

When we  finally awaken to our sobering senses, we will find we have been led by the nose and duped by lies.

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Obama Stimulus Actually Raised Unemployment

February 25, 2010

An Investors.com article entitled The ‘Stimulus’ Actually Raised Unemployment should be required reading for every American:

By ALAN REYNOLDS Posted 02/19/2010

President Obama seized on the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as an opportunity to take credit for the belated and tenuous economic recovery.

But the economy always recovered from recessions, long before anyone imagined that government borrowing could “create jobs.” And we didn’t used to have to wait nearly two years for signs of recovery, as we did this time.

A famous 1999 study by Christina Romer, who now heads the Council of Economic Advisers, found the average length of recessions from 1887 to 1929 was only 10.3 months, with the longest lasting 16 months.

Recessions lasted longer during the supposedly enlightened postwar era, with three of them lasting 16 to 21 months.

Keynesian countercyclical schemes have never worked in this country, just as they never worked in Japan.

The issue of “fiscal stimulus” must not be confused with TARP or with the Federal Reserve slashing interest rates and pumping up bank reserves.

One might argue that those Treasury and Fed programs helped prevent a hypothetical depression, but it’s impossible to make that argument about ARRA.

The “fiscal stimulus” refers only to a deliberate $862 billion increase in budget deficits. Importantly, only 23% ($200 billion) was spent in 2009, with 47% in 2010 and 30% in later years (according to the Congressional Budget Office this January).

How could the initial $200 billion have possibly had anything to do with the 5.7% rise in fourth-quarter GDP?

The Keynesian fable presumes that faster federal spending and consumers spending their federal benefit checks were the driving forces in the rebound.

Yet the GDP report clearly said the gain “reflected an increase in private inventory investment, a deceleration of imports and an upturn in nonresidential, fixed investment that was partly offset by decelerations in federal government (defense) spending and in personal consumption expenditures.”

Since federal spending accounted for exactly zero of the only significant increase GDP, how could such spending possibly have “created or saved” 2 million jobs?

The bill was launched last year amid grandiose promises of “shovel ready” make-work projects.

In reality, as the CBO explains, “five programs accounted for more than 80% of the outlays from ARRA in 2009: Medicaid, unemployment compensation, Social Security … grants to state and local governments … and student aid.”

In other words, what was labeled a “stimulus” bill was actually a stimulus to government transfer payments — cash and benefits that are primarily rewards for not working, or at least not working too hard.

First of all, believe it or not, America actually recovered from every single recession in its history without Barack Obama.  And the longest recessions we’ve had have occurred during the period when elitist big government liberals were frantically pulling levers and pushing buttons.

UCLA economists have calculated that FDR’s policies actually prolonged the Great Depression by 7 years, a conclusion validated by Roosevelt’s own Treasury Secretary in his remarks to the House Ways and Means Committee:

“We have tried spending money.  We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.  And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job.  I want to see this country prosperous.  I want to see people get a job.  I want to see people get enough to eat.  We have never made good on our promises…  I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939 (Morganthau Diary, May 9, 1939 entry, Franklin Presidential Library)

For the record, the unemployment rate the month before this mea culpa had been a sky-high 20.7%.  More than six years after FDR’s New Deal, more than 1 out of every five workers was unemployed.

Obama’s own expert (Christina Romer) pointed out that pre-FDR, pre-New Deal, pre-stimulus, and pre-Obama, recessions only lasted an overage of 1o.3 months.  This one’s going to last a helluva lot longer in the age of Obama.

The next thing to consider is that the $24 trillion in TARP and other federal programs makes the $862 billion Obama stimulus – with only some $200-plus billion having been spent so far – look laughably puny in comparison.  Obama’s claim that his stimulus saved the day is rather like the gnat telling the elephant, “I was pushing too.  And it was my efforts that saved the day, not yours.”

Obama’s claim is laughable.  And so is the mainstream media that has largely allowed Obama to continue making such a claim.

A third point is that it is simply a fact that all the Obama and Democrat claims of “shovel ready jobs” is just a lie.

From an Associated Press article:

Even within the construction industry, which stood to benefit most from transportation money, the AP’s analysis found there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it.”

Which is to say, the only thing that was ever “shovel ready” about the stimulus was bull crap.  And the Democrats shoveled it high and deep.

Virtually all of the nowhere near 2 million jobs that were “saved or created” were government jobs.  And government jobs are parasitic upon the private sector which taxes PAY for those government jobs.  In other words, the government sector doesn’t produce; government jobs exist ONLY because of the productive output of the private sector, and the private sector taxes that provide the money for the government sector and all the bureaucrats on the payroll.

And what we have here is a case in which $862 billion plus interest has been sucked out of the private sector which actually creates the jobs that produce and given to the government.  Which means less wealth for the private sector.  Which means fewer private sector jobs.  Which means less productivity.  Which means lower tax revenues which fund the government payroll.

Which means we are in a vicious cycle.  Obama is going to need to keep borrowing to pay the government workers on the government payrolls, which means less money for the private sector, which means fewer private sector jobs and less private sector productivity, which means lower tax revenues, which means more borrowing to fund the government sector jobs.

Which is why “Keynesian countercyclical schemes have never worked.”

Let’s look at the gigantic mess that Obama left Illinois in as an example of why this crap doesn’t work, and how Illinois has an $85 billion black hole of unfunded public employee pension obligations which it can never possibly hope to repay.

First of all, the government has a way of rewarding itself at the expense of the private sector over and over again.  Thus:

“The level of pension benefits provided by the state’s plans generally exceeds those available in the private sector — i.e., available to taxpayers who pay the state’s bills,” the Commercial Club’s Martin contended in his report.

But at the same time government sector union benefits dwarf those of the private sector employees who pay for those massive benefits, another thing happens: the government, being an inherently amoral and short-sighted enterprise, can’t help but constantly rob Peter to pay Paul in a neverending attempt to eat their cake, and have it, too.  Hence the Pension Modernization Task Force investigating the black hole of Illinois pensions was forced to conclude:

“Not wanting to implement dramatic cuts in spending on essential services, the legislature and various governors elected to instead divert revenue from making the required employer pension contribution to maintaining services like education, health care, public safety and caring for disadvantaged populations,” the center argued. “Effectively, the state used the pension systems as a credit card to fund ongoing service operations.”

Which is to say that first the government makes impossible promises, and then it engages in unsustainable and frankly insane policies to play their equivalent of budgetary Whac-a-Mole in order to juggle all the impossible competing spending priorities they’ve been insane enough to commit themselves to.

Which is exactly what happened in the case of the Obama stimulus.  It was advertised as a “shovel-ready” package to create jobs, but instead it was “actually a stimulus to government transfer payments — cash and benefits that are primarily rewards for not working, or at least not working too hard.” And so money that was supposed to fund job creation instead went almost entirely to “Medicaid, unemployment compensation, Social Security … grants to state and local governments … and student aid.”

And jobs got sucked out of the economy.

To the extent that the Obama stimulus actually did any good, any benefit will be entirely consumed by the far greater harm it will do to the economy shortly down the road.

Fortunately, the claims that the Obama administration and the Democrat Party have made have been so inherently contradictory and so over-the-top fallacious that only six percent of Americans believe that Obama’s stimulus has created any jobs at all thus far.

Some Liberal Historical Revisionism Corrected

February 17, 2010

I got an all-too typical comment today posted to an article I wrote:

“What would you rather do? live in depression or try to get out of it? seriously, im tired of hearing these idiots saying that Obama is the worst president.. and comparing him to Hitler… and guess what??? The New Deal helped America last time. What makes you think that it isnt going to this time?”

And I dropped a load of bricks on it as follows:

Let me take your whining in order:
1) You hypocrite: you were just FINE with eight years of hysterical Bush derangement syndrome, in which George Bush was equated with Adolf Hitler about a billion times.
Bush=Hitler

Bush=Hitler

Bush=Hitler

Bush=Hitler

You leftwing slimebags were all over yourselves comparing George Bush to Adolf Hitler.   But now all of a sudden it’s just inconvenient for you to recognize that “Nazi” stood for “National Socialist German Workers Party.”  Now you progressive liberal socialists don’t want to wear the shoe that should have been on your own damn foot all along.

Your self-righteous indignation only works in one direction, doesn’t it?

2) You seriously should quit being ignorant and learn something, such as “FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate”  (and see this CNN Money article as well, which links to one of Cole and Ohanian’s papers).  If you read The Forgotten Man you’d have a very different view of FDR. If you read New Deal or Raw Deal you’d have a very different view of the New Deal.

Heck, if you just paid attention to what FDR’s OWN TREASURY SECRETARY SAID you’d have a very different view:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

In April 1939, by the way, unemployment was 20.7%

Which pretty much puts the kibosh on the myth that FDR got us out of anything. What allowed us to get out of the depression was World War II. If we’d counted on FDR’s policies, we’d probably STILL be in the Great Depression.

But you have your propaganda and your ideology. What else do you need?

You might want your government to pay people to dig a hole, then pay other people to fill it back up again.  With the new modern method of cutting a giant hole in the road, doing a crappy job repaving it, and then having to fix potholes over and over forever after.  But that doesn’t mean the increasingly large majority of Americans who are turning against Obama want such stupidity.

Not that Obama really gave us any shovel ready jobs to begin with.

For what it’s worth, the Obama White House is actually acknowledging that Obama will leave unemployment higher than it was when he took office.

Democrat Senator Evan Bayh, who was so sick of such economic stupidity he’s getting out of politics, put it this way:

“[I]f I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months.”

Here’s the video of Senator Evan Bayh:

Senator Bayh understands that the Obama administration has sacrificed all credibility regarding its utterly failed stimulus.

And according to a New York Times/CBS poll, a whopping 94% of the American people agree with Bayh.  Only 6% of Americans believe Obama’s massive porkulus has created jobs a full year after going into effect.

To the extent that Obama’s porkulus actually has created any jobs, it has created far too few and at far too high a cost to taxpayers’ children’s children’s children’s children.  As I demonstrated, the White House’s own numbers only claim 595,263 jobs at a cost of $272 billion.  Which comes out to an astronomical $456,941 per job.

And at that rate, we can’t AFFORD for Obama to “create” any more jobs.

So when it comes to your wrongheaded thesis that the New Deal got us out of the Great Depression, that’s what makes me think “that it isn’t going to this time” when it comes to Obama’s New Deal Part Deux.

It’s decades past time that we shoved a wooden stake into the heart of liberal myths once and for all.

Another liberal myth that needs exploding is the far newer lie about who was to blame for imploding our economy in 2008.

Even Liberals Realizing Obama Has Been Total Bust At Creating Jobs

October 8, 2009

This article is in many ways typical New York Times.  It comes from a distinctly liberal perspective, and views solutions to the problems that America faces through a liberal prism.

The big difference in this case is that it really takes a critical look at a Democrat.  It slams Barack Obama as being basically disinterested and uninvolved in – and even uncomprehending of – the biggest crisis facing the country.

Does Obama Get It?

By BOB HERBERT
Published: October 5, 2009

The big question on the domestic front right now is whether President Obama understands the gravity of the employment crisis facing the country.  Does he get it?
The signals coming out of the White House have not been encouraging.

The Beltway crowd and the Einsteins of high finance who never saw this economic collapse coming are now telling us with their usual breezy arrogance that the Great Recession is probably over.  Their focus, of course, is on data, abstractions like the gross domestic product, not the continued suffering of living, breathing human beings struggling with the nightmare of joblessness.

Even Mr. Obama, in an interview with The Times, gave short shrift to the idea of an additional economic stimulus package, telling John Harwood a few weeks ago that the economy had likely turned a corner. “As you know,” the president said, “jobs tend to be a lagging indicator; they come last.”

The view of most American families is somewhat less blasé. Faced with the relentless monthly costs of housing, transportation, food, clothing, education and so forth, they have precious little time to wait for this lagging indicator to come creeping across the finish line.

Americans need jobs now, and if the economy on its own is incapable of putting people back to work — which appears to be the case — then the government needs to step in with aggressive job-creation efforts.

Nearly one in four American families has suffered a job loss over the past year, according to a survey released by the Economic Policy Institute. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans is officially unemployed, and the real-world jobless rate is worse.

We’re running on a treadmill that is carrying us backward. Something approaching 10 million new jobs would have to be created just to get back to where we were when the recession began in December 2007. There is nothing currently in the works to jump-start job creation on that scale.

A massive long-term campaign to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — which would put large numbers of people to work establishing the essential industrial platform for a truly 21st-century American economy — has not seriously been considered. Large-scale public-works programs that would reach deep into the inner cities and out to hard-pressed suburban and rural areas have been dismissed as the residue of an ancient, unsophisticated era.

We seem to be waiting for some mythical rebound to come rolling in, magically equipped with robust job creation, a long-term bull market and paradise regained for consumers.

It ain’t happening.

While the data mavens were talking about green shoots in September, employers in the real world were letting another 263,000 of their workers go, bringing the jobless rate to 9.8 percent, the highest in more than a quarter of a century. It would have been higher still but 571,000 people dropped out of the labor market. They’re jobless but not counted as unemployed. The number of people officially unemployed — 15.1 million — is, as The Wall Street Journal noted, greater than the population of 46 of the 50 states.

The Obama administration seems hamstrung by the unemployment crisis. No big ideas have emerged. No dramatically creative initiatives. While devoting enormous amounts of energy to health care, and trying now to decide what to do about Afghanistan, the president has not even conveyed the sense of urgency that the crisis in employment warrants.

If that does not change, these staggering levels of joblessness have the potential to cripple not just the well-being of millions of American families, but any real prospects for sustained economic recovery and the political prospects of the president as well. An unemployed electorate is an unhappy electorate.

The survey for the Economic Policy Institute was conducted in September by Hart Research Associates. Respondents said that they had more faith in President Obama’s ability to handle the economy than Congressional Republicans. The tally was 43 percent to 32 percent. But when asked who had been helped most by government stimulus efforts, substantial majorities said “large banks” and “Wall Street investment companies.”

When asked how “average working people” or “you and your family” had benefited, very small percentages, in a range of 10 percent to 13 percent, said they had fared well.

The word now, in the wake of last week’s demoralizing jobless numbers, is that the administration is looking more closely at its job creation options. Whether anything dramatic emerges remains to be seen.

The master in this area, of course, was Franklin Roosevelt. His first Inaugural Address was famous for the phrase: “The only thing we have to fear. …” But he also said in that speech: “Our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” And he said the country should treat that task “as we would treat the emergency of a war.”

Now that’s the sense of urgency we need.

More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on October 6, 2009, on page A31 of the New York edition.

Not to dive into the genetic fallacy, as so many liberals so often do, but it is nevertheless significant that the Economic Policy Institute is a distinctly liberal think tank.  And Hart Research Associates aint exactly Rasmussen.  So while I don’t know that they aren’t right in their survey about Obama vs. Congressional Republicans, I would point out: 1) that I wouldn’t regard it as gospel; and 2) don’t forget that as LOW as Bush got in the polls, he STILL outperformed the Democrat-controlled Congress throughout his entire presidency.

In fact, Bush had more than DOUBLE the ratings of the Democrat Congress:

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

So in terms of net differences, Bush actually fared quite a bit better when pitted against a Democrat Congress than Obama is faring when pitted against Congressional Republicans.  And I would submit that the public thinks a lot more highly of Republican ideas than this smoke-and-mirror statistic would otherwise indicate.  Just sayin’.

I made that point just to demonstrate the statistical sleight of hand going on.

Now, Bob Herbert is a big government, rah-rah FDR guy, who sees the big public projects of the WPA as the model for our country’s salvation.

For what it’s worth, I – and Congressional Republicans – agree(d) that that would have been FAR better than Obama’s $3.27 trillion pork-laden employment bust known as the stimulus.

A New York Times story points out why Republicans opposed the porkulus so fiercely:

But the committee’s ranking Republican, Jerry Lewis of California, asserted that the program would do far too little to finance road construction, flood control projects and other works for the public good.

“Facts are stubborn things,” Lewis said, describing the package as a recipe for bloated government programs that would saddle taxpayers with a debt burden “well, well into the future.”

And now even the New York Times is essentially acknowledging that the Republicans were right and Obama was wrong.

I would also point out that the Hoover Dam is named the Hoover Dam because Herbert Hoover was doing public works projects before FDR.  And Herbert Hoover was the guy that every Democrat loves to blame for the Great Depression.

And while we’re on the subject of what happened in the 1930s, I might as well point out that things didn’t go so good under the leadership of FDR.

In fact, FDR’s Treasury Secretary had this to say as he looked back over the decade:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” — Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

A look at the graph of unemployment should help you understand what Henry Morganthau understood:

It shouldn’t surprise you when you take the time to learn about what FDR attempted that he actually prolonged the Great Depression by seven years.

Having mentioned the massive yet mysteriously ignored failure of FDR to solve unemployment or get the economy going, allow me to return to Obama’s current failure.

Still another liberal publication, Time Magazine, ran an article back in July entitled, “Obama’s Stimulus Plan: Failing by Its Own Measure.”  It begins:

Back in early January, when Barack Obama was still President-elect, two of his chief economic advisers — leading proponents of a stimulus bill — predicted that the passage of a large economic-aid package would boost the economy and keep the unemployment rate below 8%. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Last month, the jobless rate in the U.S. hit 9.5%, the highest level it has reached since 1983.

And of course, it’s currently 9.8% – and almost certain to keep rising.

Now contrast what the Obama team predicted – a ceiling no higher than 8% unemployment – and then see what the administration is trying to pass off now:

Vice President Joe Biden delivered a rousing review of the government’s economic stimulus plan in a conversation with the nation’s governors. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well,” he said. “Thank you, thank you.”

I mean, is this a statement that when team Obama said that they believed their stimulus plan would keep unemployment under 8% that they were being fundamentally dishonest with the American people?  And that 9.8% unemployment is better than their wildest dreams?

And don’t just say Vice President Joe Biden is an idiot and dismiss him.  He IS an idiot, of course.  But he is the official spokesidiot of the Obama Administration.

Having affirmed that significant public works-style projects would have been a massive improvement over the failed Obama stimulus, allow me to briefly point out a few other things that would have helped the nation restore confidence in the U.S. economy and the jobs that would have gone with it.

For one thing, tax breaks would have helped, but we didn’t get them.

Contrary to Democrat fluffery, there really weren’t “tax breaks” in the stimulus.  Rather, the people who got the “breaks” didn’t actually pay federal income taxes.  The “tax breaks” were really welfare breaks.  Lowering taxes stimulates more investment and more productivity by allowing investors to keep more of what they earn, rather than incentivizing them to shelter their money, which raising taxes invariably does.  Transferring money from the pockets of tax payers and giving it to those who didn’t pay federal income taxes – even if you euphemistically call it a “tax break” – simply doesn’t accomplish that goal.

Another thing that would have helped was targeting stimulus toward the businesses that actually do most of the hiring.

Small businesses which employ 20 or fewer workers are responsible for 50% of the jobs in this country.  And businesses defined as “small businesses” are responsible for nearly 3/4ths of the total jobs in the USA.

And what did small businesses get from the stimulus? Butkus.  The porn-loving National Endowment for the Arts actually got more stimulus funds than all the small businesses in the country combined.

If Democrats wanted to create jobs, they might have considered giving the money to businesses that actually created jobs, rather than to their politically connected liberal special interest groups.  Again, just sayin’.

It also would have helped if the stimulus had been something that actually helped more than it hurt.  The Congressional Budget Office, hardly a conservative bastion, reported that the stimulus bill would lead to a lower GDP 5 to 10 years out than if Congress had done absolutely NOTHING.  The enormous government spending will ultimately crowd out private investment which would have had a much higher chance of increasing GDP than the spending in the stimulus bill.