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Romer Is Vindicated

When the president and VP went to the Transportation Department last week to tout the 2000th program authorized under the stimulus, they got tripped up over just how much money had been spent. Now we know: not a lot. USA Today reports:

The federal government has committed $60 billion so far for projects from the $787 billion economic stimulus package President Obama signed two months ago, prompting concerns that the money isn’t moving fast enough to halt the deepening recession.

[. . .]

Critics say the government should speed up spending. “It’s disappointing, given the urgency … that we’ve only been able to spend $60 billion,” says Brookings Institution economist Isabel Sawhill. She says the government must hire contractors and get projects reviewed — safeguards that slow the flow of money.

At this rate the money will get spent in two years. Hmmm. Maybe this is further support for Christina Romer’s pre-Obama administration research, which showed these Keynesian schemes as ill-timed to lift us out of a recession. When they come back for another stimulus because this one isn’t “enough,” we should keep this in mind.



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