Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Efficacy of Porkulus: Drag Down Growth, Not Much Else

At the expected place, much crowing and screeching about the wonderful effects of Porkulus. He leads off with DNC talking points, by the way, which are fatuous.

Somehow, the cited NYT article failed to mention this information:

In a new paper presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard study the link between different levels of debt and countries’ economic growth over the last two centuries. One finding: Countries with a gross public debt debt exceeding about 90% of annual economic output tended to grow a lot more slowly. For advanced countries above the 90% threshold, average annual growth was about two percentage points lower than for countries with public debt of less than 30% of GDP.

The results are particularly relevant at a time when debt levels in the U.S. and other countries at the center of the financial crisis are rapidly approaching the 90% threshold. Gross government debt in the U.S., for example, stood at 85% of GDP in 2009 and will reach 108% of GDP by 2014, according to IMF projections. The U.K.’s gross government debt stood at 69% of GDP in 2009 and is expected to reach 98% of GDP by 2013.

“If history is any guide,” the rising government debt “is very troubling for the U.S. and other advanced economies,” says Ms. Reinhart.

Oh, that's not all that the NYT writer excised from the writings of Reinhart/Rogoff.

Around the world over the last century, the typical financial crisis caused the jobless rate to rise for almost five years, according to work by the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. On that timeline, our rate would still be rising in early 2012. Even that may be optimistic, given that the recent crisis was so bad. As Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson (Republicans both) and many others warned in 2008, this recession had the potential to become a depression.

Which, we suppose, is just fine IF one is employed by Government--the principal beneficiary of Porkulus dollars nationwide.

The rest of you can suck eggs.

1 comment:

J. Strupp said...

Read their book. It's pretty damn good. Probably the best read of the year as far as I'm concerned.

I think R&R's point is that severe financial crisis impacts GDP/unemployment is such a way that public debt levels become an issue which will need to be unraveled at some point. They actually support stimulus measures in a liquidity trap such as the one we're in right now as long as debt levels are controlled once the crisis eases in about 3-5 years time.

Of course, that's easier said than done according to their historical data.