Monday, December 14, 2009

Obama caught in another lie

Reason's Matt Welch catches President Obama in another lie. Here's the president said last night on 60 Minutes: (emphasis added by Welch)

Now, what we had to do was he had to make sure that there was some buoy, some stabilizer in the economy so that it didn't go into a Great Depression. And that's why we passed the Recovery Act. And for all the criticism that it received from the other side -- and we got no help from any Republicans, other than a couple, in passing it -- what we now know and every economist who's looked at it will acknowledge this, is that it helped us [stem] the panic and get the economy growing again. And it probably saved somewhere between a million and a million and a half jobs.

As evidence that this isn't true, Welch cites an op-ed by economist Greg Mankiw that ran over the weekend in the New York Times. Not only does Mankiw disagree with Obama, he points to a number of studies by well-respected economists that conclude exactly the opposite of Obama's claim. In part, Mankiw says:

My Harvard colleagues Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna have recently conducted a comprehensive analysis of the issue. In an October study, they looked at large changes in fiscal policy in 21 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. They identified 91 episodes since 1970 in which policy moved to stimulate the economy. They then compared the policy interventions that succeeded — that is, those that were actually followed by robust growth — with those that failed.

The results are striking. Successful stimulus relies almost entirely on cuts in business and income taxes. Failed stimulus relies mostly on increases in government spending.

As Ronald Reagan would say: "There you go again."

Whenever I hear someone claiming "consensus" as proof -- be it in regard to the economy or global warming or anything else that is stained by politics -- my default position has become to assume they are lying and go check out the facts for myself.

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