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An argument I'm glad to disagree with

Bruce Bartlett argues that we don't need more fiscal stimulus. I don't buy his argument, but I'm glad the economy is stabilizing enough for me and Bruce to begin disagreeing again.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 11, 2009; 2:11 PM ET
 
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Bruce Bartlett appeared on the PBS News Hour recently during which time he confronted Paul Krugman. Bartlett said little other than that we should wait a few months and then assess the situation, calling himself an agnostic in the stimulus debate.

I have not yet read the article to which Ezra links. However, Krugman pointed to the long period of very high unemployment we face without a strong response in the form of stimulus. Mr. Bartlett never disputed these projections and from my view avoided talking about actual numbers.

In his article Mr. Bartlett says that "additional stimulus carries more potential risks than rewards." I doubt he would make such an assessment if he were out of work. He is not the first person to attach a low value to a very valuable asset, in this case a much more employed and productive nation.

I find that he advocates risky and reckless policies while couching them as prudent. Furthermore, given his inability to take a position one way or another a few days ago simply to turn around and take a position against stimulus now, I find him dishonest. He never needed a few months to let things play out. He's just a coward.

Posted by: bcbulger | December 11, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, he was very weak on the Newshour with Krugman.

He never even tried to backstop his assertion.

Posted by: JkR- | December 11, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Stimulus just punts the problem down the road by creating more debt, unless these programs have ROI greater than their compounded cost. We got into this problem because we were overstimulating the economy for eight years under Bush. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Posted by: staticvars | December 12, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

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