Saturday, February 14, 2009


Republican commitment to attacking the stimulus bill, regardless of both reality and necessity, is impressive. 

In today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri Representative Roy Blunt (R-Springfield) criticized the bill saying some of the spending wouldn't occur for a decade. Blunt, along with every other Republican in the House voted against the stimulus bill.

Blunt should have checked with the Congressional Budget Office, the office that provides estimates of spending, debt and other budget impacts. It released a report (pdf) on Saturday showing the majority of the stimulus would be released by 2010, about 18 months.

Update: It appears Blunt's office did see the report. A press release on his website adds a note confirming that the bill would provide the short-term stimulus sought by the President. It tosses in a caveat, however, saying the CBO determined there might be a potential for a negative impact beginning after 2014.

The negative impact the CBO estimates in this report (This is the only recent report referring to a 2014 turning point. Blunt's office declines to indicate which reports it is getting its information from) is a potential 0 to 0.2 percent negative impact after 2014. Meaning there could be no negative impact at all. The report only looks at the earlier proposal, not the final bill passed this weekend.

 The CBO attributes this to potential "crowding out" of private investment. It balances this prospect by noting that much of the government-financed investment in areas such as education and infrastructure could improve long-term output, thus the providing continued positive growth.

That said, the potential for a slight drag 5 years down the road is nothing compared to an imminent crash. 

- Murphy

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