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Author Topic: Did the Stimulus work?  (Read 4593 times)

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Offline AndyZTopic starter

Did the Stimulus work?
« on: September 14, 2011, 12:59:41 AM »
I'm curious whether people feel that Obama's original stimulus plan worked.  I'm under the impression that it didn't work, which is why it confuses me that he's trying for another one now.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 02:08:58 AM »
The problem is that it didn't go far enough.  Most states are prohibited from running on a deficit, and as a result, the state governments are slicing payrolls, laying off workers, and raising state taxes.  By doing a small stimulus, it was like throwing a single bucket of water on a ten-foot-square bonfire.  You got a lot of noise and blew off some steam, but in the end, it doesn't put out the fire.

In addition to a stimulus, the feds need to implement something like the WPA.  Even if it's 'just' getting construction workers some long-term, steady work (on an infrastructure that badly needs it!), that will trickle up as those workers grow comfortable enough to start spending.  That will raise demand for goods, and the manufacturers will start needing to crank out more goods - leading to more hours for current employees, and more openings for new employees.  With more goods being manufactured, you need more people selling the goods - in come the retail employees, and so forth.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 02:20:08 AM »
 An almost $800 billion stimulus package is small?  :o

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 02:24:43 AM »
The problem is that it didn't go far enough.  Most states are prohibited from running on a deficit, and as a result, the state governments are slicing payrolls, laying off workers, and raising state taxes.  By doing a small stimulus, it was like throwing a single bucket of water on a ten-foot-square bonfire.  You got a lot of noise and blew off some steam, but in the end, it doesn't put out the fire.

In addition to a stimulus, the feds need to implement something like the WPA.  Even if it's 'just' getting construction workers some long-term, steady work (on an infrastructure that badly needs it!), that will trickle up as those workers grow comfortable enough to start spending.  That will raise demand for goods, and the manufacturers will start needing to crank out more goods - leading to more hours for current employees, and more openings for new employees.  With more goods being manufactured, you need more people selling the goods - in come the retail employees, and so forth.

Maybe I misunderstand, but I thought the entire point of the stimulus was supposed to be something like the WPA, assuming you mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration  However, I'm not sure that that worked either, since it didn't stop the Great Depression.

We spent all that money to get all those shovel-ready jobs that Obama promised us, right?  If it didn't work, why is he trying the same thing again with another 400 and some billion?

Offline Jude

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 04:03:25 AM »
It all comes down to a pretty simple question:  what exactly is your operational definition for the stimulus "working?"

Did it accomplish nothing aside from wasting 800 billion dollars?  No, that's absurd.

Was it the panacea that turned our economy around?  No, we're still experiencing a weak recovery.

Was it worth the expenditure?  That's a good question.  Unfortunately it's one that so few people are actually qualified to answer, and one that damn near everybody seems to have a truly uninformed opinion on.  A lot of the data necessarily to make that judgment isn't available at all.  All we have is projections to go off of, and in the end whether or not it was worth it is pretty subjective.  It's hard to say what would've happened if the stimulus had never occurred.

Requiring another round of stimulus isn't a sign that the first failed though -- the first could've helped without pulling us from the economic brink, just as the New Deal did.  What really got America out of the Great Depression was a lot more complicated than what is commonly believed.  It wasn't wartime deficit spending or anything FDR did as much as it was the near annihilation of Europe's means of production that turned nearly all of western Europe into a temporary consumer state subservient to US markets.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 07:31:11 AM »
Maybe I misunderstand, but I thought the entire point of the stimulus was supposed to be something like the WPA, assuming you mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration  However, I'm not sure that that worked either, since it didn't stop the Great Depression.

We spent all that money to get all those shovel-ready jobs that Obama promised us, right?  If it didn't work, why is he trying the same thing again with another 400 and some billion?

The problem is that while that was the intent of the last stimulus, the money didn't actually go where it was supposed to - creating new jobs. It got shuffled into already-well-lined pockets while lower-level jobs were still getting cut.  Supply-side economics is a pipe-dream.  To recover the economy, we need to create demand.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 08:12:22 AM »
It all comes down to a pretty simple question:  what exactly is your operational definition for the stimulus "working?"

Did it accomplish nothing aside from wasting 800 billion dollars?  No, that's absurd.

Was it the panacea that turned our economy around?  No, we're still experiencing a weak recovery.

Was it worth the expenditure?  That's a good question.  Unfortunately it's one that so few people are actually qualified to answer, and one that damn near everybody seems to have a truly uninformed opinion on.  A lot of the data necessarily to make that judgment isn't available at all.  All we have is projections to go off of, and in the end whether or not it was worth it is pretty subjective.  It's hard to say what would've happened if the stimulus had never occurred.

Requiring another round of stimulus isn't a sign that the first failed though -- the first could've helped without pulling us from the economic brink, just as the New Deal did.  What really got America out of the Great Depression was a lot more complicated than what is commonly believed.  It wasn't wartime deficit spending or anything FDR did as much as it was the near annihilation of Europe's means of production that turned nearly all of western Europe into a temporary consumer state subservient to US markets.

That would suggest that the primary reason for our recession, then, would be that we don't really make things here in America any longer.  Am I correct on this?

The problem is that while that was the intent of the last stimulus, the money didn't actually go where it was supposed to - creating new jobs. It got shuffled into already-well-lined pockets while lower-level jobs were still getting cut.  Supply-side economics is a pipe-dream.  To recover the economy, we need to create demand.

I've only ever had basic economics classes, but if you raise demand, then you'll raise prices.  This will hurt the lower class when everything costs more money, which is definitely happening now.  Food, gas and everything has been jumping horribly lately.  I don't understand why this would be good for the economy; please explain.

With Obama trying to pass a new jobs bill, if the last one just went to the rich and connected as many seem to agree, why would this one be any different?  Is the new bill a good idea?


Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 08:21:47 AM »
Right now, businesses aren't hiring because no one is buying.  No one is buying because no one has money.  No one has money because no one has jobs.  No one has jobs because businesses aren't hiring.  Vicious circle -> downward spiral.

If demand increases (i.e., someone wants to start buying), then businesses have to up production.  If businesses have to up production, they need to hire more workers.  If they hire more workers, then those workers have more money.  If they have more money, they are able to spend it.  Demand increases, lather, rinse, repeat.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2011, 08:47:17 AM »
Right now, businesses aren't hiring because no one is buying.  No one is buying because no one has money.  No one has money because no one has jobs.  No one has jobs because businesses aren't hiring.  Vicious circle -> downward spiral.

If demand increases (i.e., someone wants to start buying), then businesses have to up production.  If businesses have to up production, they need to hire more workers.  If they hire more workers, then those workers have more money.  If they have more money, they are able to spend it.  Demand increases, lather, rinse, repeat.

Alright, but if you're pushing up on things via demand, isn't the price going to rise as well?  This will necessitate a push on the lowest levels of society being able to buy even less with their money, which is only going to hurt them more.

I can see how more people would necessitate more things being made, but since we don't actually make things in America anymore, that isn't going to make more jobs for us.  That'll definitely help push China to make more stuff, which would help them, but would it help us?  Also, when there are things that we can't just push harder to make, like when farms are already working at capacity, having more people working would make more food, right?

This is getting confusing.  I'd love to hear from an economist right now.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2011, 08:53:25 AM »
  Not necessarily. A higher demand for goods does not mean a higher price. Or the cost of computers, plasma TVs, DVD players, cell phones and the like -never- would have dropped in price to become affordable to the middle class and poor people. Scarcity of a product is what tends to drive up prices, that and a monopoly (such as the oil companies). A higher demand by itself won't.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 09:02:55 AM »
  Not necessarily. A higher demand for goods does not mean a higher price. Or the cost of computers, plasma TVs, DVD players, cell phones and the like -never- would have dropped in price to become affordable to the middle class and poor people. Scarcity of a product is what tends to drive up prices, that and a monopoly (such as the oil companies). A higher demand by itself won't.

If the demand goes up, then the supply has to go up as well in order to maintain the price.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

From my understanding, what allows the various prices to drop on technology is because newer models come out.  Once the new Widget 5.0 comes out, the Widget 4.0 becomes cheaper and more easily available.

Granted, in order to get all the way up to the 5.0, the Widget has to come out with various models, which have to have been bought up by someone with the money, usually the rich and early adapters.  However, that goes against other stuff, because in order to maintain that demand, there have to be the rich people to buy it when it first comes out.  That's how my economics teacher explained it, though I may be wrong.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 09:11:57 AM »
I'd recommend looking up a guy named Robert Reich.  He was a White House economist during the Clinton administration, and has been quite vocal about the current state of things.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 10:08:48 AM »
If the demand goes up, then the supply has to go up as well in order to maintain the price.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

From my understanding, what allows the various prices to drop on technology is because newer models come out.  Once the new Widget 5.0 comes out, the Widget 4.0 becomes cheaper and more easily available.

Granted, in order to get all the way up to the 5.0, the Widget has to come out with various models, which have to have been bought up by someone with the money, usually the rich and early adapters.  However, that goes against other stuff, because in order to maintain that demand, there have to be the rich people to buy it when it first comes out.  That's how my economics teacher explained it, though I may be wrong.

  By that reasoning, why would ANYthing be cheap now? If there is a large supply, the price usually drops because of the sheer volume. Oil and gas seem to be one of the few things that doesn't follow that model.  Computers are a LOT cheaper now than when they became PC sized. $4-500 will get you a decent laptop or desktop, electronics of all types are extremely affordable. Places like Walmart are filled with very affordable items. Even the new models are fairly affordable and not priced out of the range of the average consumer. They cost more yes, but not excessively so. Volume is one thing that determines pricing.

Online Vekseid

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2011, 11:15:28 AM »
Maybe I misunderstand, but I thought the entire point of the stimulus was supposed to be something like the WPA, assuming you mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration  However, I'm not sure that that worked either, since it didn't stop the Great Depression.

We spent all that money to get all those shovel-ready jobs that Obama promised us, right?  If it didn't work, why is he trying the same thing again with another 400 and some billion?

How anyone could confuse the WPA with the pathetic leavings that got termed the 'Stimulus' is beyond me. Aside from shoring up state and local budgets while it lasted, and temporarily resuscitating a few ailing industries, it was woefully inadequate to the task. It made up for the dropoff in state and local spending, but it did not actually increase total government (state, local, and federal combined) expenditures.

America has a 'true' underemployment pool of roughly thirty million. Which means that the United States, as a whole, is losing roughly three trillion dollars per year in lost labor utilization. Worse, these people still take up resources, just by the very factor of being there, meaning that security and other capacity costs are increased. Letting them sit to rot is not a wise move.

A proper WPA would be a roughly $3-4 trillion operation, and quite likely in the $5-7 trillion range over the course of an administration. However, a $4 trillion dollar package would be the easiest for bond markets to absorb (the money is, after all, right there, competing for US treasuries as is). Tax increases could probably make a $5-7 trillion dollar version viable without drastically growing the debt.

Alright, but if you're pushing up on things via demand, isn't the price going to rise as well?  This will necessitate a push on the lowest levels of society being able to buy even less with their money, which is only going to hurt them more.

I can see how more people would necessitate more things being made, but since we don't actually make things in America anymore, that isn't going to make more jobs for us.  That'll definitely help push China to make more stuff, which would help them, but would it help us?  Also, when there are things that we can't just push harder to make, like when farms are already working at capacity, having more people working would make more food, right?

This is getting confusing.  I'd love to hear from an economist right now.

We do make quite a bit in America. We'd make more in America if we stopped sucking up to China, and forced things made in other countries to carry more flagrant notices. I always check to make sure my food isn't made in China, for example. I really would appreciate a bolder notice so I wouldn't have to check. For added fun, devalue our currency by 25% on top of it and watch China bitch.

Regarding inflation, if you have 10% inflation and the poorest are making %10,000 more (i.e., in many cases, actually having a damned job), are they really losing out?

I think the benefit traps programs put the poor in (once you make a certain amount of money, you start losing benefits faster than the money you earn) are far more of a sham than taxes, spending, and inflation.

If the demand goes up, then the supply has to go up as well in order to maintain the price.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

From my understanding, what allows the various prices to drop on technology is because newer models come out.  Once the new Widget 5.0 comes out, the Widget 4.0 becomes cheaper and more easily available.

Granted, in order to get all the way up to the 5.0, the Widget has to come out with various models, which have to have been bought up by someone with the money, usually the rich and early adapters.  However, that goes against other stuff, because in order to maintain that demand, there have to be the rich people to buy it when it first comes out.  That's how my economics teacher explained it, though I may be wrong.

You're somewhat mixing disruptive technologies in with traditional supply and demand. Generic supply increases are things like retooling factories, more workers producing a specific good, digging/sucking more out of the ground, etc.

Technological disruption means that the pace of technology means that a new unit can perform the same need (or more of the same need) for cheaper (or the same price), which is what you see in newer models of computers/phones/etc. The modern rate of disruption is not something that most economics can easily wrap its head around, simply because technology is quickly driving the barrier of entry of more and more markets to zero. It's going to happen next with 3D printers, but I doubt it will stop there.

Of course, increased supply is a part of it too. Moving from a 32nm process to a 22nm process means that more chips can be crammed onto your typical 300mm wafer, and raw production can actually increase.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2011, 11:40:50 AM »
  By that reasoning, why would ANYthing be cheap now? If there is a large supply, the price usually drops because of the sheer volume. Oil and gas seem to be one of the few things that doesn't follow that model.  Computers are a LOT cheaper now than when they became PC sized. $4-500 will get you a decent laptop or desktop, electronics of all types are extremely affordable. Places like Walmart are filled with very affordable items. Even the new models are fairly affordable and not priced out of the range of the average consumer. They cost more yes, but not excessively so. Volume is one thing that determines pricing.

That's the argument for increasing supply, at least as I understand it.  If you flood the market with lots of such things, the price will drop to make it easier for other people to afford them.  The argument for demand is quite different.

However, here's the basics:

If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, then it leads to higher equilibrium price and quantity.
If demand decreases and supply remains unchanged, then it leads to lower equilibrium price and quantity.
If supply increases and demand remains unchanged, then it leads to lower equilibrium price and higher quantity.
If supply decreases and demand remains unchanged, then it leads to higher price and lower quantity.

It helps to think of it in terms of a particular good.  If a particular band's CDs are crap and nobody wants them, the demand is down, the store will drop the price.


How anyone could confuse the WPA with the pathetic leavings that got termed the 'Stimulus' is beyond me. Aside from shoring up state and local budgets while it lasted, and temporarily resuscitating a few ailing industries, it was woefully inadequate to the task. It made up for the dropoff in state and local spending, but it did not actually increase total government (state, local, and federal combined) expenditures.

America has a 'true' underemployment pool of roughly thirty million. Which means that the United States, as a whole, is losing roughly three trillion dollars per year in lost labor utilization. Worse, these people still take up resources, just by the very factor of being there, meaning that security and other capacity costs are increased. Letting them sit to rot is not a wise move.

A proper WPA would be a roughly $3-4 trillion operation, and quite likely in the $5-7 trillion range over the course of an administration. However, a $4 trillion dollar package would be the easiest for bond markets to absorb (the money is, after all, right there, competing for US treasuries as is). Tax increases could probably make a $5-7 trillion dollar version viable without drastically growing the debt.

I don't think we'd ever be able to borrow that much money.  However, what really confuses me is, if it didn't work for FDR, why would it work now?  Is Obama's new jobs plan a good idea?

I also disagree with raising taxes while we're trapped in this thing, like when Obama said that it was the last thing you want to do.

Quote
We do make quite a bit in America. We'd make more in America if we stopped sucking up to China, and forced things made in other countries to carry more flagrant notices. I always check to make sure my food isn't made in China, for example. I really would appreciate a bolder notice so I wouldn't have to check. For added fun, devalue our currency by 25% on top of it and watch China bitch.

One thing that really puzzles me is that people say that we have to have all these bureaucracies for things because big business would just put plastic in our food or whatever, but China can get away with all of this stuff.  What's the point of having these things if they don't do anything?

Also, I think if we just started printing money, people would stop buying our debt at all.  Then our credit rating would just plummet, right?  It's similar to the thing about whether we should raise the debt ceiling.

Quote
I think the benefit traps programs put the poor in (once you make a certain amount of money, you start losing benefits faster than the money you earn) are far more of a sham than taxes, spending, and inflation.

I think I remember Clinton talking about this, how the programs aren't designed to help people rise up, they just keep people trapped in them.  I'm very big on the whole "teach to fish, don't just hand out fish every day" mentality, and I think everyone would agree that government doesn't actually do that.

Quote
You're somewhat mixing disruptive technologies in with traditional supply and demand. Generic supply increases are things like retooling factories, more workers producing a specific good, digging/sucking more out of the ground, etc.

Technological disruption means that the pace of technology means that a new unit can perform the same need (or more of the same need) for cheaper (or the same price), which is what you see in newer models of computers/phones/etc. The modern rate of disruption is not something that most economics can easily wrap its head around, simply because technology is quickly driving the barrier of entry of more and more markets to zero. It's going to happen next with 3D printers, but I doubt it will stop there.

Of course, increased supply is a part of it too. Moving from a 32nm process to a 22nm process means that more chips can be crammed onto your typical 300mm wafer, and raw production can actually increase.

This might not be what you're saying, but I used to think that the rate of increase for technology would mean that eventually no one would have jobs.  Everything would be automated.  Obama has mentioned this to some degree with ATMs.

However, one thing of note is that whenever things progress, something comes up to fill the void.  Having more time means that we want more entertainment.  Having the internet means that we buy all sorts of internet stuff.  New things pop into existence as well.

I may very well be missing your point here.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2011, 11:55:10 AM »
Taxes need to be applied better - not a simple 'increase' or 'decrease' (or even 'fail to increase or decrease').  Right now, a lot of the wealthy entities (corporations and individuals) get out of paying even the same rate of taxes as the rest of us see taken out of our paychecks.  An economy depends on money moving, not stagnating in some Swiss bank account.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2011, 11:56:35 AM »
Taxes need to be applied better - not a simple 'increase' or 'decrease' (or even 'fail to increase or decrease').  Right now, a lot of the wealthy entities (corporations and individuals) get out of paying even the same rate of taxes as the rest of us see taken out of our paychecks.  An economy depends on money moving, not stagnating in some Swiss bank account.

Absolutely agree that we need to get rid of all the loopholes and such.  There's no freaking way that GE should be paying 0%.

Online Vekseid

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2011, 12:24:39 PM »
I don't think we'd ever be able to borrow that much money.  However, what really confuses me is, if it didn't work for FDR, why would it work now?  Is Obama's new jobs plan a good idea?

There is roughly 3.5 trillion available for us to borrow right now.

And yes, it did work for FDR. Look up the unemployment rate going until 1937 when programs were scaled back.

What I proposed is more akin to a WWII-level mobilization, however, without the restrictions on private industry. That certainly worked with the private restrictions - sans those, I think a very impressive job could be done.

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I also disagree with raising taxes while we're trapped in this thing, like when Obama said that it was the last thing you want to do.

Raising taxes on those who spend all of their money is bad, yes - you want to lower their taxes. However, raising taxes on those who don't spend there money is, at worst, economy-neutral. Far more likely they will start reinvesting their income, which in turn will improve the economy on its own.

Quote
One thing that really puzzles me is that people say that we have to have all these bureaucracies for things because big business would just put plastic in our food or whatever, but China can get away with all of this stuff.  What's the point of having these things if they don't do anything?

Declaring that well-purposed regulatory agencies are bad because they have been hamstrung by lobbyist efforts is not a particularly sound argument. If you think a particular regulation or set of regulations are bad, that argument should be made on its own merits, not 'they should all just go'. They are, quite often, there for a well-thought out reason, though some things (e.g. corn subsidies) may be addressing a situation that no longer applies.

Quote
Also, I think if we just started printing money, people would stop buying our debt at all.  Then our credit rating would just plummet, right?  It's similar to the thing about whether we should raise the debt ceiling.

Like people stopped buying Japan's debt when they started printing money?

Or, you know, when we did?

How many record low yields has Japan had since then? Us?

Yes, there is such a thing as printing too much. You can also have too much fire and e.g. burn your house down. It doesn't necessitate freezing to death in the winter. It necessitates responsibility.

Quote
I think I remember Clinton talking about this, how the programs aren't designed to help people rise up, they just keep people trapped in them.  I'm very big on the whole "teach to fish, don't just hand out fish every day" mentality, and I think everyone would agree that government doesn't actually do that.

Some government programs certainly can. It's a simple matter of how they are structured - don't allow situations like that to happen.

Oh, yes, some freeloaders will bitch. I don't get the impression you're on their side and, shock, neither are many progressives.

Quote
This might not be what you're saying, but I used to think that the rate of increase for technology would mean that eventually no one would have jobs.  Everything would be automated.  Obama has mentioned this to some degree with ATMs.

This is the origin of Karl Marx's quote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." He believed that technology would effectively enable such a society. You work one hour a month or year and feed a million people - random, minimal labor becomes enough to sustain society.

It's not, physically, impossible. The Solar System represents a ridiculous amount of unharnessed wealth along with the energy to exploit it. The real issue is getting there without getting trapped into some dystopia where e.g. someone has control of all of the machines and turns the world into their own utopia where everyone else suffers.

Quote
However, one thing of note is that whenever things progress, something comes up to fill the void.  Having more time means that we want more entertainment.  Having the internet means that we buy all sorts of internet stuff.  New things pop into existence as well.

I may very well be missing your point here.

I'm not sure what you are trying to address. You confused increased supply with disruption. Disruption is where something gets outmoded, and is what you described as an increase in supply when it was, for the most part, not.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2011, 12:44:54 PM »
Some government programs certainly can. It's a simple matter of how they are structured - don't allow situations like that to happen.

For example, having welfare taper off as someone gains monthly income, providing a cushion to keep them at a certain, life-sustaining level.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2011, 12:54:18 PM »
There is roughly 3.5 trillion available for us to borrow right now.

From where?  I haven't heard this.

Quote
And yes, it did work for FDR. Look up the unemployment rate going until 1937 when programs were scaled back.



Unemployment rate in the US 1910–1960, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–1939) highlighted.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression

Did he start the program at the very peak and bring things down to the valley, before it started rising again after 1937?  I guess I can see that it made a bit of a dent, but not really.

I just remember what Henry Morganthau, the Secretary of the Treasury for FDR said on the matter: “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!”

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Declaring that well-purposed regulatory agencies are bad because they have been hamstrung by lobbyist efforts is not a particularly sound argument. If you think a particular regulation or set of regulations are bad, that argument should be made on its own merits, not 'they should all just go'. They are, quite often, there for a well-thought out reason, though some things (e.g. corn subsidies) may be addressing a situation that no longer applies.

Certainly not claiming that they all need to go point blank, but I think we do need to go through a lot of this stuff and prune.  However, that's another argument.  I should probably start up a thread on that.

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Like people stopped buying Japan's debt when they started printing money?

Or, you know, when we did?

How many record low yields has Japan had since then? Us?

Yes, there is such a thing as printing too much. You can also have too much fire and e.g. burn your house down. It doesn't necessitate freezing to death in the winter. It necessitates responsibility.

Why is it that sometimes we need to have people buy debt and other times we can just print more money?  I still don't really understand that.

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This is the origin of Karl Marx's quote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." He believed that technology would effectively enable such a society. You work one hour a month or year and feed a million people - random, minimal labor becomes enough to sustain society.

That would mean that the communist society wouldn't actually work until such technology existed, though, right?  We're certainly not at the utopia where people only need to work one hour a month.  Or am I missing something?

Personally, I always thought that it should be "to each according to his effort."  I don't think the freeloading guy with higher needs than a hard worker should get more of the resources.

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I'm not sure what you are trying to address. You confused increased supply with disruption. Disruption is where something gets outmoded, and is what you described as an increase in supply when it was, for the most part, not.

I think I'm confused on what you mean here.  I'll still try to explain what I'm saying and you can help me understand how it fits in.

When we make a machine to do something, someone else has to repair the machine.  When we build something new, there's always another level where humans are needed.  That's going to be true until machines are self-aware, and even then, you'll still need the "grand masters" for various things, but I don't know if you're familiar with that sci-fi story.

For example, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (spoilers ahead), Charlie's dad had the job of screwing caps on the end of toothpaste tubes.  He ended up getting replaced by a machine, but then he got a job repairing the machine.

Maybe the issue I'm having is that, yes, technology lowers the need for human labor in certain areas, but its existence necessitates new areas for human labor in other areas.  Wouldn't that have some effect on the disruption thing?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2011, 01:29:12 PM »
For example, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (spoilers ahead), Charlie's dad had the job of screwing caps on the end of toothpaste tubes.  He ended up getting replaced by a machine, but then he got a job repairing the machine.

*snickers*  Read that book with the little Oni this summer.

One thing that is required to keep people from becoming obsolete as their jobs are automated is going to be education of the existing workforce.  It's one set of skills to (to use the example) screw caps on the ends of toothpaste tubes, and another to repair the machine that screws on the caps.  On the plus side, this would require employing people to train the soon-to-be repair squads, but the education needs to be accessible to Mr. Bucket in his two room shack.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2011, 02:22:57 PM »
The thing is.. work programs like FDR put into play did VITAL things to US infrastructure that we're still benefiting from. And let's be honest, some of them would have NEVER been done if it wasn't for the intent to generate jobs to jumpstate the economy. How many highways, bridges, rail spurs and other things were started would have been done if it wasn't for the program.

And let's be honest, we need an entity that doesn't have to absolutely look at the bottom line and develop programs that can help us. We, as a country, need to do it.

Our infrastructure needs to be fixed. We're a decade (or more) behind other countries in our infrastructure for a lot of things. Our roads, bridges, lots of things.

Offline Dashenka

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2011, 02:55:19 PM »
I know the solution to all your problems...

Move to Russia... economic growth of nearly 4% without any major stimulance packages.


Seriously though, I haven't read any of the things that Obama did but I think all the measures taken by any government to increase employment and decrease the financial impact or whatever they are doing, cannot be noticed on such a short term. It would take a few years before things like that will have a real effect.

The bubble burst and now everybody is blowing up the bubble again but it's still small. All those changes made globally are efforts to get it up again and in 50 years orso everything we do now, will come crushing down again. Give the man a little time to make it all work. Every government in the world is now being criticized for cutting on everything. Next government will have money and they'll be heroes. That's the fun of politics, if you are riding the tide, you're a hero, if you are trying to swim you're basically fucked.

As for the infrastructure, I beg to differ. Not sure which countries are ahead of the US when it comes to infrastructure but I sure as hell never been there. It's not in Europe, Africa or South America so maybe some countries in Asia although I still wouldn't agree.

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Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2011, 03:08:15 PM »
Seriously though, I haven't read any of the things that Obama did but I think all the measures taken by any government to increase employment and decrease the financial impact or whatever they are doing, cannot be noticed on such a short term. It would take a few years before things like that will have a real effect.

The bubble burst and now everybody is blowing up the bubble again but it's still small. All those changes made globally are efforts to get it up again and in 50 years orso everything we do now, will come crushing down again. Give the man a little time to make it all work. Every government in the world is now being criticized for cutting on everything. Next government will have money and they'll be heroes. That's the fun of politics, if you are riding the tide, you're a hero, if you are trying to swim you're basically fucked.

I'm actually more peeved off at the politicians that seem to be actively combating any attempts to increase employment.  The ones that are trying have my support.  The ones who aren't deserve a quick boot in the pants.  (I actually got an email from one of my Congressmen that not only indicated he had read my letter, but addressed a number of my concerns directly with references to legislation he had initiated.  If he's running again this year, he's got my vote.)

Oh, and on the infrastructure issue:

http://business.financialpost.com/2011/08/16/crumbling-infrastructure-adds-to-u-s-economic-woes/

I don't know about the 'decade behind' bit, but the fact that our bridges and highways are in this sort of shape confirms that we need to do something to fix them.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Did the Stimulus work?
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2011, 03:11:27 PM »
I think that the US has tossed aside MANY options over the years. There was a project a while back that a bunch of Japanese companies offered back in the 80s to give the US the vehicle and construction gear contracts in return for the State Department greasing the wheels on setting up a new Canal system in Central America.

Infrastructure doesn't have to be for the US. Though I think there is enough. I personally think that we (as a country) could do with a LOT of internet backbone upgrades. Cause trust me.. if we wait on the companies here in the US to do it..we'll be back on dial up before you know it.

The US companies would rather eat one another than reinvest in their infrastructure.