A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

When Economists Disagree, Part II

In a post last week, we explained some of the difficulties involved in trying to determine whether or not the stimulus package will work. As we said at the time:
Well, for one thing, economists have very little data with which to work. There are plenty of theoretical models out there, but those models are largely untested. … [O]ur long period of relative prosperity means that economists haven’t been able to plug a lot of real-world situations into their models to see how well those models hold up.

AIG Bailout

Q: Did Congress bail out AIG because it insures members’ pensions?
A: This widely e-mailed claim is a hoax. It actually was the Federal Reserve that bailed out AIG, not Congress. And federal pensions aren’t insured by AIG or any other company.

The Stimulus Bill and ACORN

Q: Does the stimulus bill include a $5.2 billion payoff for ACORN?
A: The bill does include funds for which ACORN would be eligible to compete – against hundreds of other groups. But most is for a housing rehabilitation program ACORN says it never applied for in the past and won’t in the future.

Campaign 2010 Begins

Here we go again. The first round of attack ads in the 2010 midterm elections was announced this week by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Its new radio spots accuse 28 Republican House members variously of voting against tax breaks for working people, voting against money for schools, voting against …

Let Election 2010 Begin

Believe it or not, ads for the midterm elections are on the air already. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced radio ads this week that attack 28 House Republicans for voting against such how-could-they-possibly-oppose-them measures as “tax breaks … for American workers” and creating and saving “over 390,000 New York jobs.” But, as we pointed out today on our main site, these ads don’t tell the whole story.
Most of the radio spots refer to votes against the massive stimulus bill,

Still on the Prowl Against Palin

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund is keeping the heat on Alaska Gov. (and former VP candidate) Sarah Palin for supporting “aerial hunting” of wolves in Alaska. As part of a new advocacy campaign on Palin’s environmental record, the group has enlisted actress Ashley Judd to narrate a Web video that echoes an attack ad from this past election. The new video has been viewed more than 150,000 times on YouTube in a week and was even shown on today’s episode of ABC’s “The View.”

Military Oath

Q: Is President Obama planning to have the military swear an oath to him rather than to the Constitution?
A: No, the "news report" that makes this claim is intended as satire.

Now THAT’S an Unemployment Crisis!

Fox News host Chris Wallace caught Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi drastically overstating the employment situation on January 18:
PELOSI: But in terms of what we have to do in the first 100 days, we must address the needs of this country. Five hundred million people will lose their jobs each month until we have an economic package.
WALLACE: No, 500,000.
PELOSI: What did I say, million?
WALLACE: Yes, 500 million. That would really be a recession.

Will the Stimulus Work?

A lot of readers have asked us to sort through the various arguments about whether or not the stimulus bill (which, at the moment, is actually two different bills, one in the House and one in the Senate) will actually work. But we just don’t know the answer to this one. For that matter, even the experts don’t know. On one side, Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz argue that the only problem with the stimulus bill is that it needs more spending and fewer tax cuts.

Children’s Clothing Resale

Q: Is the government outlawing the resale of children’s clothing?
A: Not explicitly. A recently passed law won’t ban resale, but it will hold resellers responsible for selling items with lead content that exceeds new limits. Some resellers are fearful this will force them out of business.