Fiscal Sanity From A Couple Of Bloggers

Let me refer you to two excellent posts this evening that skewer some of the more egregious elements of the fiscal stimulus bill.

First, Calculated Risk identifies $55 billion in non-stimulus grants that could be channelled elsewhere.

This (carryback of operating losses) is a clear gift to shareholders of the homebuilders. How does this help create jobs? This provision could be dumped – no problem. Between this and the useless $35.5 billion housing tax credit, we could cut $55 billion from the bill and maybe add back a couple of the stimulus programs that would help. Oh well …

Second, Greg Mankiw presents a sound argument that debunks the notion that there are infrastructure programs that are “shovel ready.”

The programs that would meet the bill’s 90-day restriction are, for the most part, an unappealing mix of projects that were either shelved after being fully designed and engineered, and have since become outmoded or irrelevant, or projects with limited scope and ambition. No one’s building a smart electric grid or revamping a water system on 90 days notice….

Take a look at both. They’re a nice diversion from all of the political gas.

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