We’ve been telling you for the last couple of weeks how economists are divided over the virtues of the stimulus bill. But, as former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers and current Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw reminds us, we shouldn’t get too carried away with our skepticism of economists. While they might have differing views of macroeconomics, there are still a lot of areas where they agree. Mankiw provides us with a list of principles that most economists accept,
The ink is still drying on the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and the government’s corresponding Web site for tracking its progress is still being programmed. But Americans United for Change, a liberal group, already is airing an ad that lauds President Obama for its passage and extols its benefits.
FactCheck.org has reviewed dubious ads from Americans United for Change before, when the group was attacking then-President Bush and other Republicans. This ad repeats the Obama claim that the stimulus will keep or save 3.5 million jobs.
Since President Obama plucked at least three advisers and cabinet members from elected positions, and some of those positions were then filled by other elected officials, we have a spate of special elections to watch as these empty posts are filled. Of particular note is the 20th House district in New York that was vacated when Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to replace Hillary Clinton as senator. The district had traditionally trended Republican before Gillibrand’s win in 2006,
Americans For Prosperity, a conservative group, has found a unique way to attack Democrats for the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: global warming alarmism.
The group notes that the stimulus package calls for “spending billions of dollars” for “green energy.” That much is certainly true. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill did include $16.8 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and as we’ve previously discussed there was an additional $11 billion for a so-called smart grid.
We’re always pleased when our readers write to us with questions or comments that really make us think. Here, for example, is reader K.S., who writes:
Perhaps it was intended facetiously, if so I apologize for this “correction.” However, in your piece on ACORN you concluded with the following statement, “We’re accustomed to seeing logical fallacies in political arguments. But working two of them into a single argument is unusually bad logic.”
All fallacies are errors in logic,
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.
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,
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.”
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.
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.