Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too Smart?

"But in Washington stimulus has become the policy that dare not speak its name."

James Surowiecki, "Second Helpings," The New Yorker, September 20, 2010.

Modest success, political failure, in part do to its conflation with private-sector bail-outs and the usual outcry about government waste, real or not. And hence even the new, anemic, non-stimulus stimulus of business incentives is having a rough time.

"Bizarre as it may seem, a less well designed stimulus might have been more popular, and would have made it easier for Obama to sell the electorate on his new stimulus proposals."

In other words, people didn't see and feel the benefit. Clever behavioral economics, astute accounting of multiplier effects, the prevention of the the fiscal collapse of states -- all good, all beneficial, not so visible. Smart isn't always populist.

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