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Is the Spending Binge Going to Be Effective?

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As many in Congress continue to push for more spending and our leaders push the G-20 to spend, one must ask if this spending is going to be effective?

Some say the stimulus and TARP helped to keep unemployment low.

Unemployment in the construction industry is around 30%. What good did the stimulus do there?

TARP was repaid at a $21 billion profit to government, how can that be if the banks were starving for capital. As it turns out, the FASB rule change allowed for banks to write up tens of billions in new capital and essentially hand it to the government.

How has this spending binge helped us? It has made government bigger and our debt bigger, but has it actually DONE anything else?
 

Lord Tammerlain

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As many in Congress continue to push for more spending and our leaders push the G-20 to spend, one must ask if this spending is going to be effective?

Some say the stimulus and TARP helped to keep unemployment low.

Unemployment in the construction industry is around 30%. What good did the stimulus do there?

TARP was repaid at a $21 billion profit to government, how can that be if the banks were starving for capital. As it turns out, the FASB rule change allowed for banks to write up tens of billions in new capital and essentially hand it to the government.

How has this spending binge helped us? It has made government bigger and our debt bigger, but has it actually DONE anything else?
The question to ask is


Where do you think the economy would be today without the spending binge

Would it be worse then it is today, better or the same
 

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I am all for more spending in infrasture. Either we spend money on infrastrure when our economy is down and when there is a large availablility of construction workers to do the work, or we spend money on infrastructure later when the extra spending may result in inflation and a drain to private interprise on construction workers.

I have been told that less than 4% of the spendulous bill went to real life infrastrure (as opposed to pie in the sky alternative energy stuff).

It's easy to point out that the spendulous may or may not have worked out so well, but we can't ignore that just sitting back waiting on the private sector to create a recovery hasn't worked either. During the early stages of the great depression Herbert Hoover insisted on having a balanced budget, we all know how well that worked out. A lot of people claim that the stimulous checks that Bush sent out did nothing to improve the economy, maybe that is true mayby not we have no legitimate way to measure the results because we don't know if things would have been better or worse without them. I suspect that, like FDR's New Deal, it just was not enough to make the huge impact that was needed to get out of recession. The reality is that governement spending for the war effort (which was much larger than the New Deal spending) eventually was what brought us out of the great depression.

At this point, a huge increase in infrasture spending coupled with huge direct "tax refund" checks to every US Citizen (or at least every taxpayer) may be the only way to stimulate the economy.
 

masonkiller

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As many in Congress continue to push for more spending and our leaders push the G-20 to spend, one must ask if this spending is going to be effective?

Some say the stimulus and TARP helped to keep unemployment low.

Unemployment in the construction industry is around 30%. What good did the stimulus do there?

TARP was repaid at a $21 billion profit to government, how can that be if the banks were starving for capital. As it turns out, the FASB rule change allowed for banks to write up tens of billions in new capital and essentially hand it to the government.

How has this spending binge helped us? It has made government bigger and our debt bigger, but has it actually DONE anything else?
No. It's basic logic that taking free-thinking individuals money and then throwing it at certain projects instead of letting those individuals properly employ that money in their own personal daily lives in woefully inefficient and is greatly extending the recession.
 

obvious Child

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No. It's basic logic that taking free-thinking individuals money and then throwing it at certain projects instead of letting those individuals properly employ that money in their own personal daily lives in woefully inefficient and is greatly extending the recession.
So you think that the free thinking individuals who have shown a massive spike in savings and not investment or spending would have resulted in better outcomes with a substantial decline in money freely available to the market? That's basically what you're saying.

Savings went through the roof and money fled the market from investments to spending. Many managed accounts are super heavy on institutional money because private money fled the market to chill out under mattresses. Institutions stayed in the game because they are legally mandated to. Therefore, your argument is that individuals who shown a great desire to effectively leave the market would have resulted in better outcomes then additional spending in the market for the economy as a whole. Therefore, less spending, less demand and less economic activity would have resulted in better outcomes then more spending causing more demand and more economic activity.

I suggest you rethink your stance.
 

obvious Child

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At this point, a huge increase in infrasture spending coupled with huge direct "tax refund" checks to every US Citizen (or at least every taxpayer) may be the only way to stimulate the economy.
Not really. That doesn't work for financial crisis. To actually get out, we need to fix the lending problem. Except that such required lending would effectively be going totally Socialist as the required amounts would have to be directly from the government.

IMO, it's beyond hilarious how certain people attack Obama for his "Socialism" and saying Socialism can't get us out when actual Socialism would. Now, I think such a plan would lead us down to a worse crisis later (aka, China's Banks), but it would end THIS recession.

More spending and less taxes when the real problem is financing is not going to solve this recession. And let's just face the unpleasant truth. No first world country has truly ever dealt with a financial crisis well in the past 100 years.
 

masonkiller

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So you think that the free thinking individuals who have shown a massive spike in savings and not investment or spending would have resulted in better outcomes with a substantial decline in money freely available to the market? That's basically what you're saying.

Savings went through the roof and money fled the market from investments to spending. Many managed accounts are super heavy on institutional money because private money fled the market to chill out under mattresses. Institutions stayed in the game because they are legally mandated to. Therefore, your argument is that individuals who shown a great desire to effectively leave the market would have resulted in better outcomes then additional spending in the market for the economy as a whole. Therefore, less spending, less demand and less economic activity would have resulted in better outcomes then more spending causing more demand and more economic activity.

I suggest you rethink your stance.
The problem is that when interest rates are artificially modified, it makes it appear to businesses and investors that there is more actual wealth and spending in the economy, hence the result is people making business decisions based upon false premises, and they lose money and waste time they could have spent investing in capital (thinking for the longer term since people are saving for the future), hence you get a recession.
 

obvious Child

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The problem is that when interest rates are artificially modified, it makes it appear to businesses and investors that there is more actual wealth and spending in the economy, hence the result is people making business decisions based upon false premises, and they lose money and waste time they could have spent investing in capital (thinking for the longer term since people are saving for the future), hence you get a recession.
Artificially low rates do not suggest that the spending and wealth is fake. Only that the costs of such spending and wealth is not sustainable.

You still haven't addressed my post. Arguing that individuals would have produced a better outcome is to argue that vast reductions in avaliable capital and vast reductions in spending are better then more spending and more avaliable capital.

I see you avoided that deliberately.
 

masonkiller

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Artificially low rates do not suggest that the spending and wealth is fake. Only that the costs of such spending and wealth is not sustainable.

You still haven't addressed my post. Arguing that individuals would have produced a better outcome is to argue that vast reductions in avaliable capital and vast reductions in spending are better then more spending and more avaliable capital.

I see you avoided that deliberately.
Ok here. Yes saving money and investing in capital as a result reacting to actual market forces would result in better outcomes then spending. In the very short term, spending would appear more beneficial, but thats because you haven't reached the bust yet.
 

the makeout hobo

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As many in Congress continue to push for more spending and our leaders push the G-20 to spend, one must ask if this spending is going to be effective?

Some say the stimulus and TARP helped to keep unemployment low.

Unemployment in the construction industry is around 30%. What good did the stimulus do there?

TARP was repaid at a $21 billion profit to government, how can that be if the banks were starving for capital. As it turns out, the FASB rule change allowed for banks to write up tens of billions in new capital and essentially hand it to the government.

How has this spending binge helped us? It has made government bigger and our debt bigger, but has it actually DONE anything else?
I think it has helped things from being even worse. Of course, there are no laboratories so we can't really ever know
 

PeteEU

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History has proved time and time again, massive government spending has taken countries out of recession time and time again. Now this can be in stimulus spending, like the Hoover Dam or a war, but the fact of the matter is that when the private sector is playing a groundhog under the ground, then the government needs to step up and take over for a short period till the private sector gets its balls back.

History also has shown us what will happen when we dont do this... the great depression. Cutting spending, and building barriers made the great depression into a really great depression.
 

masonkiller

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History has proved time and time again, massive government spending has taken countries out of recession time and time again. Now this can be in stimulus spending, like the Hoover Dam or a war, but the fact of the matter is that when the private sector is playing a groundhog under the ground, then the government needs to step up and take over for a short period till the private sector gets its balls back.

History also has shown us what will happen when we dont do this... the great depression. Cutting spending, and building barriers made the great depression into a really great depression.
Have you ever heard of the depression of 1920 - 1921? It is the depression every keynesian like to sneak around because it was a pretty bad hit to the economy, but the president at the time just pulled back spending and regulation, and let the market fix the problem. It did. In one year. FDR extended the Great Depression for years because he did the same exact thing to fix the problem that was done to start the problem: Inflate, tax, spend. If he had just gotten out of the way the Depression probably could have ended in a year or so.
 

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FDR extended the Great Depression for years because he did the same exact thing to fix the problem that was done to start the problem: Inflate, tax, spend. If he had just gotten out of the way the Depression probably could have ended in a year or so.
I have to argue that there is no evidence that the Great Depression was extended by FDR's policies. If anything, the great depression was in part due to the fact that he did not spend or tax the wealthy enough. When WW2 rolled around, taxation on the wealthy was greatly increased and so was government spending, and it is widely accepted that it was this greater government spending that ended the great depression. Thus, it is highly likely that FDR's New Deal was simply to small to fully serve it's purpose.

During the 1920's, the countries economic wealth grew quite a bit, but the money ended up in the hands of the rich, the average guy on the street actually became poorer. This migration of wealth into the hands of the financially elite was a big part of the reason for the depression. When taxes on the rich were significantly increased, and when wealth was essentially redistributed during WW2, our economy did just fine. 94% tax rates actually helped our economy, and the rich became even richer because when the lower and middle class does well, so do the elite. In some cases the incomes of the uber rich went up 1,000 fold and even with higher tax rates, their net after tax income and net personal wealth increased significantly.

Obamas spendulous bill has failed, but because it was not directed at creating jobs, or helping small business. It also failed because it simply was not large enough to compensate for the intensity of the "Great Recession".
 

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Have you ever heard of the depression of 1920 - 1921? It is the depression every keynesian like to sneak around because it was a pretty bad hit to the economy, but the president at the time just pulled back spending and regulation, and let the market fix the problem. It did. In one year. FDR extended the Great Depression for years because he did the same exact thing to fix the problem that was done to start the problem: Inflate, tax, spend. If he had just gotten out of the way the Depression probably could have ended in a year or so.
1920-1921 was caused by contractionary monetary policy by the fed. Between 1919 and 1920 its rates rose 3%. When the fed finally cut its rates the economy quickly recovered.

Of course, it would have been fairly easy to reverse this today, before a large contraction started, because the fed is not forced to maintain the gold standard. In 1920 the US was exporting a large amount of gold, which severely limited the feds ability to control the money supply.

Problem is, with the great depression, this problem was similar only with an international gold standard. A currency crisis in europe caused an international run on gold and severily depressed the money supply in gold standard countries including the US. This also made it practically impossible for the fed to cut rates while maintaining the gold standard. After FDR devalued the currency and effectively removed this constraint for the fed, the economy began recovery. However, the fed quickly ran into the zero lower bound (interest rates cannot go below 0), which severlily limited its usefulness in stimulating the economy and made recovery more sluggish. With this limitation on the feds monetary policy it was only prudent for FDR to do some fiscal stimulus.
 
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1920-1921 was caused by contractionary monetary policy by the fed. Between 1919 and 1920 its rates rose 3%. When the fed finally cut its rates the economy quickly recovered.
So if the fed cutting rates allowed the economy to quickly recover then, this most certainly, as low as rates are now, our economy must be BOOMING?

...A currency crisis in europe caused an international run on gold and severily depressed the money supply in gold standard countries including the US. ...
Another good reason not to be on the gold standard

After FDR devalued the currency and effectively removed this constraint for the fed, the economy began recovery.
Sure, moderate inflation is ALWAYS good for the economy.

However, the fed quickly ran into the zero lower bound (interest rates cannot go below 0), which severlily limited its usefulness in stimulating the economy and made recovery more sluggish. With this limitation on the feds monetary policy it was only prudent for FDR to do some fiscal stimulus.
Exactly. Government fiscal stimulous is "only prudent" since the fed has already "quickly ran into the zero lower bound". It is amazing how similar the current Great Recession is to the 1930's Great Depression. I just hope it doesnt take WW3 to pull us out of it. Maybe the gov could review history and ramp up spending levels to WW2 levels without actually having to start a world war. Instead of tanks, how bout a grid of elevated high speed trains, instead of guns how bout some replacement bridges, instead of bombers how bout a wall between the US and Mexico?
 
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drz-400

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So if the fed cutting rates allowed the economy to quickly recover then, this most certainly, as low as rates are now, our economy must be BOOMING?
Well, if this recession was primarily caused by contractionary fed policies, sure. Other than not lowering rates below 0 of course.
 

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Exactly. Government fiscal stimulous is "only prudent" since the fed has already "quickly ran into the zero lower bound". It is amazing how similar the current Great Recession is to the 1930's Great Depression. I just hope it doesnt take WW3 to pull us out of it. Maybe the gov could review history and ramp up spending levels to WW2 levels without actually having to start a world war. Instead of tanks, how bout a grid of elevated high speed trains, instead of guns how bout some replacement bridges, instead of bombers how bout a wall between the US and Mexico?
my God.... How could you possibly think spending tons of money helps produce more wealth? Or how punishing success helps people work hard to become successful?
 

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my God.... How could you possibly think spending tons of money helps produce more wealth? Or how punishing success helps people work hard to become successful?
Four undenieable facts:

1) It is supported by people on the left and the right and the center that government war spending during WW2 ended the depression.
2) Our highest tax rate bracket during this time went up to 94% to support the spending
3) Our wealthy class became even wealthier due to the improved economy and despite the increased taxes
4) The poor and middle class also became more prosperous

As a business person, if I spent $1,000 for advertising and doubled my sales, then the money that I spent for advertising would be a wise decision.
Now substitute the words "was taxed" for the word "spent", and the words "a good economy" for the word "advertising". Suddenly it doesn't sound so bad.

Our private sector has failed to end this recession and with low demand for consumer products businesses have no incentive to expand. Until private businesses have incentives to expand and hire people, this recession will not end. If our government was to start spending significantly more money on infrasture then private businesses would need to expand and hire people to satisfy demand created by additional government infrastructure spending. With more private sector jobs, more people will have money to purchase consumer goods, which in turn gives the private sector incentive to expand and create more jobs. Any improvement in our infrastructure will just be the "icing on the cake" which will also help our private sector to become more profitable. The additional immediate infrastructure spending can be offset by not having to spend as much money on future in infrastructure spending.

Now I am not advocating higher taxes on the poor or middle class (that would result in reduced demand for consumer goods and services), but over and over it has been historically proven that higher taxes on the rich do not negatively effect our economy. If the government has to increase spending to pull the economy out of a recession, then the money spent, as long as it is not wasted on nonsense crap, is a good investment. We all seem to agree that we should not continue to increase our federal debt, so higher taxes on the rich is the obvious answer to pay for the government spending that will jumpstart our economy.
 
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phattonez

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Four undenieable facts:

1) It is supported by people on the left and the right and the center that government war spending during WW2 ended the depression.
Has absolutely no bearing on whether that spending helped. In fact, I've argued many times that loosening restrictions and the forced savings because of rationing got us out of that depression (not that forced savings was worth it, but it helped).

2) Our highest tax rate bracket during this time went up to 94% to support the spending
That was for the war, not to help the economy.

3) Our wealthy class became even wealthier due to the improved economy and despite the increased taxes
I'm not so sure that this is undeniable. I want to see some proof for this.

4) The poor and middle class also became more prosperous
At the expense of the death and misery (rationing) caused by war and war production. Not worth it.

If anyone tells you that you don't need savings in an economy, ask them how businesses are going to expand. No business expands on profit alone. There will always be a crash when you lend too much of what you have saved (too much is pretty subjective though ;)). Furthermore, your rate of expansion should be based on people's time preference. Why invest in the future when people want to spend now? It wouldn't make sense. We need to expand based on when people think their money is best spent.
 
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Has absolutely no bearing on whether that spending helped. In fact, I've argued many times that loosening restrictions and the forced savings because of rationing got us out of that depression (not that forced savings was worth it, but it helped).



That was for the war, not to help the economy.



I'm not so sure that this is undeniable. I want to see some proof for this.



At the expense of the death and misery (rationing) caused by war and war production. Not worth it.

If anyone tells you that you don't need savings in an economy, ask them how businesses are going to expand. No business expands on profit alone. There will always be a crash when you lend too much of what you have saved (too much is pretty subjective though ;)). Furthermore, your rate of expansion should be based on people's time preference. Why invest in the future when people want to spend now? It wouldn't make sense. We need to expand based on when people think their money is best spent.
I am not suggesting we need a world war, it didn't HAVE to be a world war that pulled us out of the depression, it just happened to be a world war. It didn't matter that the increased government spending was intended to win a war and not to end the depression, the result was the result regardless of the intention or motivation. If our government would have done that much spending in 1930 instead of waiting another decade, I would the result of that particular level of government spending would have been the same.

And of course we need savings, I agree with that 100%, but savings does not directly equate to a good economy. At any one given time there is only so much demand for capital, when savings exceeds that demand, then our economy has no more need for savings, and when we get to that point, every additional dollar saved is a dollar that is directly taken out of our economy (because it is not being utilized). I have been hearing a lot on the news recently how the corporate savings rate is the highest it has ever been. Companies have the money to expand right now, if only they had the product/service demand (creating a near term potential for increased profitability due to expansion) to incentivise them to do so.
 
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NolaMan

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As many in Congress continue to push for more spending and our leaders push the G-20 to spend, one must ask if this spending is going to be effective?

Some say the stimulus and TARP helped to keep unemployment low.

Unemployment in the construction industry is around 30%. What good did the stimulus do there?
Government spending has done nothing outside of transfer private sector jobs (ie destroy them) to create a public sector job. That is why we have apparently "created" so many jobs, but unemployment remains high and getting worse.

TARP was repaid at a $21 billion profit to government, how can that be if the banks were starving for capital. As it turns out, the FASB rule change allowed for banks to write up tens of billions in new capital and essentially hand it to the government.
Not sure where you are getting the idea that TARP has been repaid, let alone at a profit. Treasury in their report to Congress estimated that TARP was going to lose over $100 billion.

How has this spending binge helped us? It has made government bigger and our debt bigger, but has it actually DONE anything else?
I agree, it has done little, if anything, to help.
 

NolaMan

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So you think that the free thinking individuals who have shown a massive spike in savings and not investment or spending would have resulted in better outcomes with a substantial decline in money freely available to the market? That's basically what you're saying.

Savings went through the roof and money fled the market from investments to spending. Many managed accounts are super heavy on institutional money because private money fled the market to chill out under mattresses. Institutions stayed in the game because they are legally mandated to. Therefore, your argument is that individuals who shown a great desire to effectively leave the market would have resulted in better outcomes then additional spending in the market for the economy as a whole. Therefore, less spending, less demand and less economic activity would have resulted in better outcomes then more spending causing more demand and more economic activity.

I suggest you rethink your stance.

A "massive spike in savings" does not equate to money "leaving the market." Savings are just rotated through banks and put right back out into the market...
 

NolaMan

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I have to argue that there is no evidence that the Great Depression was extended by FDR's policies. If anything, the great depression was in part due to the fact that he did not spend or tax the wealthy enough. When WW2 rolled around, taxation on the wealthy was greatly increased and so was government spending, and it is widely accepted that it was this greater government spending that ended the great depression. Thus, it is highly likely that FDR's New Deal was simply to small to fully serve it's purpose.

During the 1920's, the countries economic wealth grew quite a bit, but the money ended up in the hands of the rich, the average guy on the street actually became poorer. This migration of wealth into the hands of the financially elite was a big part of the reason for the depression. When taxes on the rich were significantly increased, and when wealth was essentially redistributed during WW2, our economy did just fine. 94% tax rates actually helped our economy, and the rich became even richer because when the lower and middle class does well, so do the elite. In some cases the incomes of the uber rich went up 1,000 fold and even with higher tax rates, their net after tax income and net personal wealth increased significantly.

Obamas spendulous bill has failed, but because it was not directed at creating jobs, or helping small business. It also failed because it simply was not large enough to compensate for the intensity of the "Great Recession".
FDR's policies prolonged the Great Depression by 7 years..
(interesting read)

Link is to UCLA news release, you will probably have to google for the actual article.
 

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The question to ask is


Where do you think the economy would be today without the spending binge

Would it be worse then it is today, better or the same
you see, the question is, when a drug addict solves a craving with another hit, are they better off, about the same, or worse?

well i suppose that depends on whether or not you plan on ever trying to kick the habit, or if you prefer to indulge yourself to death.
 

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Government fiscal stimulous is "only prudent" since the fed has already "quickly ran into the zero lower bound". It is amazing how similar the current Great Recession is to the 1930's Great Depression. I just hope it doesnt take WW3 to pull us out of it.

this is insane.

will someone please tell me how pouring labor, resources, and money into creating an intensely expensive item like a tank, and then shipping it halfway across the world and then blowing it up actually creates net wealth?
 
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