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Economists Opposing Massive Fiscal Stimulus

January 9th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

UPDATE, JANUARY 14. I discovered that Professor Miron and Congressman Boehner have already been putting together a list of stimulus skeptics, with comments by them. It’s up at: http://republicanleader.house.gov/blog/?p=399

I think I’m going to start collecting the names of economists who oppose the Obama plan of spending $700 billion or so for a Keynesian fiscal stimulus. I hear the media saying that economists across a wide array of views have a consensus in favor of it, and I bet that’s completely wrong. There’s Eric Rasmusen, and Greg Mankiw, and Robert Lucas, and Tyler Cowen, for starters.

I think part of the problem is that a lot of discussion by economists is about what sort of fiscal policy is best *if* we are going to spend $700 billion. That’s different from *whether* we should. In fact, even a devotedly Keynesian economist might oppose having a government stimulus if Congress and Obama get to design it, not an academic economist. If we are thinking of having a Keynesian stimulus, I suppose giving $500 to each American is a good way to do it, especially if we make it a gift certificate that they have to spend within six months or lose. But my saying that doesn’t mean I support the idea, much less that I support $700 billion in porkbarrel spending.

I’ll add to this list as I come across names with links.

  1. David Backus
  2. Gary Becker (Chicago)
  3. Willem Buiter

  4. Tyler Cowen (George Mason)
  5. Kevin Hassett (AEI)
  6. David Henderson
  7. Robert A. Lucas (Chicago)
  8. Greg Mankiw (Harvard)
  9. Eric Rasmusen (author of this post) (Indiana)
  10. Hal Varian
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