Saturday, February 7, 2009

The politics of the converse...

The part of the above video about which I am going to speak happens at about 5:50 and runs to the end of the clip. Part II can be found on youtube.

Barack Obama defends the stimulus package addressing a number of arguments in opposition to it. If you don't feel like watching the clip, here's the jist. I have linked it to the source.

Obama rejected calls for more tax cuts and significant slashing of the bill's more than $800 billion price tag, and said complaints the package was a spending bill rather than a stimulus bill were off base.

"What do you think a stimulus bill is?" he said. "That's the point."

Now during this point in the speech, he stopped and laughed. Since, in political-speak he has won the debate, let us engage in a moment of real-speak.

If the government wishes to attempt*** to stimulate the economy, then it must spend money. To simplify the equation...

stimulus = spending

Unfortunately, the converse of that equation is not true. Just because the government spends money, it does not mean that money will necessarily stimulate the economy...

spending ≠ stimulus

There are items in this bill that will do nothing to stimulate the economy. How long have we been working towards the switch to digital TV? There's money in the stimulus package for more converters. Coupons for those converters haven't stimulated the economy yet. They aren't likely to in the future. We'd have more money for stimulus (or spending) if we'd just make the switch and sell the 700MHz band.

Yet another reason that nobody is listening any more. Just call these line items in the stimulus package what they are.

Some is stimulus.

Some is spending.

Some is pork.

Some is waste.

***There's no guarantee this will work. Unfortunately, this stimulus package does not come with a money back if not delighted clause.

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