Saving the Stimulus From its Critics?

I'm a bit flummoxed seeing columnists arguing that critics had better just shut up about the stimulus, because most of it hasn't even been spent yet.  For many of us critics, that's precisely the point.  A stimulus is supposed to counteract a sharp contraction in aggregate demand when that demand is contracting, not wait until the economy is recovering, at which point its effect is much more likely to be distortionary and inflationary.  The porkulus sacrificed stimulative power in order to slide Democratic legislators' pet projects past without ordinary scrutiny.  Now the economy seems to be turning around without it, and we're stuck with the pork.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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