For liberals, “stimulus spending” is a classification that no longer classifies: All spending is, they are certain, necessarily stimulative.
George Will usually produces very good sentences. Read the whole column in today’s WaPo.
It seems that Jonathan Chait agree with him:
The point of stimulus spending, by contrast, is simply to spend money–on something useful if possible, wasteful if necessary. Keynes proposed burying money in mineshafts, so that workers would be hired to dig it out. (Imagine what the GOP could do with material like that.)
These two sentences seem to get right at the heart of this stimulus debate. The lead us to ask: Will having the government spend a lot of money very quickly boost our economy in the way that Keynsian theory predicts it will or won’t it? Liberals tend to like government spending, so it’s quite convenient for them to answer ‘yes, it will’; conservatives tend not to like increased government spending, so it’s quite easy for them to say ‘no, it won’t’. Who do you listen to when everyone seems to have a dog in the fight?
This is a situation where it’s very instructive to find those people who are swimming against the tide: liberals who are wary of the stimulus and fiscal conservatives who support it. Alice Rivlin seems to fit that category, but who else?