Does WaPo Know There Is A Depression Going On?

GOP House leader John Boehner has been rightly ridiculed for his absurd spending freeze plan in the throes of a economic depression. Boehner of course offered this plan as a solution to the coming depression. The WaPo Editorial Board wrings its hands over "excessive spending" without even referencing the current economic situation:

More noteworthy is the significant jump in domestic spending that is built into the annual baseline. Critics of the spending package say that the increase is 8 percent over last year's levels; for complicated bookkeeping reasons, the number as scored by the Congressional Budget Office is closer to 6 percent. Either way, this jump raises both short- and long-term concerns. . . . [I]ncreases of this size cannot continue; it's worrisome that the president's proposed budget for 2010 appears to envision another increase in excess of 6 percent in this category.

You see? Fred Hiatt and Co. are worried about the 6% increase in spending, but not the 6.2% contraction in the economy in the 4th quarter. They are not worried that we are shedding jobs at a 600,000 per month clip. Yet again, the disconnect in the Beltway is incredible.

Speaking for me only

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    How hard is it there? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:01:46 AM EST
    Yet again, the disconnect in the Beltway is incredible.

    I read a short article that DC is the only area in the country that is thriving right now.

    Congress gave themselves a nice raise recently, and if that's not enough, they'll give themselves more. They haven't had leadership that realizes the people are to be the first concern for over 8 years now.

    It's a company town, financed by the company (none / 0) (#10)
    by DFLer on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:12:14 AM EST
    The last jobs reports mentioned the only areas of job growth were health care and government

    My Congressman Tim Walz D-MN, has refused to take the last two salary hikes. (I believe he donated it back to the Treasury) I think he's not the only one doing that, either.

    He IS NOT independently wealthy, by the way. His congressional salary probably tripled his previous income as a high school geography teacher.


    Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll be one of (none / 0) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 08:47:10 AM EST
    the ones laid off when the Post inevitably has to downsize.

    I just don't get it (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:25:30 AM EST
    are Republicans actually that stupid?  Boehner also advertised his spending freeze as a way of cooperating with Obama.  I'm sure after passing his stimulus bill [READ: SPENDING BILL] all Obama wants is to freeze spending.

    This is an evil level of stupidity.

    I don't know man... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:34:48 AM EST
    saddling future generations with all this debt could be called kinda evil too.

    I understand the need to increase some spending to get people working and build some infrastructure, but I can't understand why we can't cut the spending we receive no benefit from to keep the spending numbers within reason...foreign occupations, drug war, etc.  

    Without cuts to other areas to offset the spending meant to stimulate the economy, it just looks like we're like chickens without heads throwing money around.  It is irresponsible.


    If the debt being created was meant (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:57:17 AM EST
    to be permanent, I could see your point, but it's not, and there's no reason to think it will be.  The point of spending is to get the economy cranking.  When that happens, that debt will be reduced - not overnight, of course, and maybe not in 5 years - but it will come down.

    We have to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs, because when people work, they have money to spend, they can pay their bills and they can pay their taxes, they need fewer - not more - government services.  If John Doe, who's been out of work for 15 months, can get a construction job on a new museum being constructed with federal money, and if Jane Smith and her friend Mary Roe, who are working part-time, can get full-time jobs making more money as a result of some project or program, those people are now off unemployment, and spending again.  They're spending at the stores, so the employees who work there get more hours to handle the increased business.  They're going out to eat once in a while, so the restaurants and the people who work in them are making more money, and maybe more servers or hostesses or cooks are hired.

    And so on.  Simplistic?  Maybe, but I don't think you can discount what it means when just one person goes back to work, much less millions - and that's what this stimulus is supposed to do.


    I hear ya about employment... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:37:51 AM EST
    but again, why can't we cut spending that doesn't employ anybody to offset, or at least come close to offsetting, the new spending meant to employ our fellow Americans?

    I'm trying hard to think of (none / 0) (#12)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:49:15 PM EST
    spending that doesn't somehow employ anyone, and maybe it's the fog of the time change, or that it's Monday, but I'm having trouble with that one.

    If you cut a program you think is ineffective or stupid, what happens to the people who work there?  Do they lose their jobs?  If so, what's the net benefit?

    I'm not saying there isn't "waste, fraud and abuse" in the government, and I'm all for making things work better, but if you're going to counter new spending designed to stimulate the economy, with cuts for the useless and irrelevant, maybe your stimulus needs to be that much bigger to accommodate the loss of jobs that will result.


    Redirect if not stop (none / 0) (#5)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:58:26 AM EST
    on some of those issues, for sure. They just aren't spending all of it as wisely as they could.

    As for saddling future generations, isn't all the money being handed over to the financial institutions and auto makers supposed to be paid back?


    LOL.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:11:33 AM EST
    Yeah, and I'm due to receive a refund on the deposit I made on the Brooklyn Bridge:)

    I'm sure Hoover believed the same thing -- and it (none / 0) (#8)
    by jawbone on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:27:54 AM EST
    is difficult to spend, to add to Federal debt when revenues are contracting.

    Except, as has been pointed out, the fiscal stimulus was long used up, essentially throughout the BushBoy administration; it's now down to nearly zero interest for the Fed. So, as Krugman keeps pointing out, it's gone, not there, used up.

    That leaves stimulus spending by the only entity large enough to do so. And, unfortunately, Team Obama is tied in knots on how much to spend and asked for too little. (Plus, wanting to keep the Big Bankster Boiz whole, which is another feature of Team Obama causing problems, that adds to the outlay with different impact on the workforce.) I was listening to NPR when the stimulus amount was being finalized, and some analyst was pointing out that this amount wouldn't even get us back to the slow jobs growth employment numbers of BushBoy's administration, and since, we were in an even deeper hole, it wouldn't get back to BushBoy employment numbers. And there always are those new people coming into the workforce -- with the economy making those nearing retirement unable to retire.

    Single payer might be a great stimulus, with many benefits for the economy. Bigger businesses released from the incredibe burden of trying to administer healthcare plans, small businesses able to focus on growing their businesses and not having to do the annual search among insurance companies for something somewhat affordable -- they have the problem of not being able to offer health insurance, covering the uninsured would mean a greater sense of security and health providers might have to hire (jobs!), and, with the savings from not having to support the executive parasites, people would be paying less on a monthly basis and could spend some of that on, well, businesses.... Oh, and better health for the populace, quite possibly.

    Such a deal! But it takes real courage and ability to do more than tinker around the edges. As does a stimulus which works.

    Can't recall the numbers, but it was about half of what was needed to get unemployment down to a better level. And that was before the humongous job losses of February added to the unemployment total.


    you would think (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:44:43 AM EST
    the wp would be cognizant of the current financial difficulties, they've certainly felt the pain. perhaps not.

    mr. hiatt has consistently proven that he, as one of the villagers, is pretty much completely disconnected from the reality borne by the mass of the public. there just isn't space to detail the many things he's been wrong about, for the past few years.

    i suppose one could take the positive approach, and always vote against whatever mr. hiatt is advocating. unfortunately, that won't educate the masses.

    that the stimulus was designed to be a spending bill, to kick-start the economy, has either gone right over mr. hiatt's head, or he's just terminally stupid. high paid, but still stupid.

    maybe, pres. obama should have just named the bill the "Ginormous Government Spending Bill, To Jump-Start the Economy, of 2009", to be as obvious as possible. that said, the republicans would still be crying "but there's too much spending!"