This economist, Jeffrey Miron, shares all the mindless liberal economic assumptions that might lead an otherwise sane person to believe that massive increases in government spending were a sensible response to the economic crisis, but even he can’t help recognizing that the legislation actually passed makes things much worse:
The stimulus adopted was a
missed opportunity of colossal proportions.
That the Administration and Congress chose the particular
stimulus adopted suggests that stimulating the economy was
not their only objective. Instead, the Administration used the
recession and the financial crisis to redistribute resources to favored
interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education)
and to increase the size and scope of government. This redistribution
does not make every element of the package
indefensible, but even the components with a plausible justification
were designed in the least productive and most redistributionist
If it weren’t so scary, it would be amusing that a Harvard professor of Economics has such a touchingly naive view of politicians as to expect them to do what is right for the country as a whole rather than reward their supporters. James Buchanan explained all this over half a century ago in “The Calculus of Consent”, available online here:
But I suppose Buchanan’s Nobel Prize wasn’t enough for Miron to have absorbed the lessons of his work, since Harvard economists do not think a Nobel is enough to compensate for having gotten one’s doctorate from the University of Chicago.