Brooks on the stimulus

David Brooks offers five reasons not to like the stimulus. The first is:

The money spent on long-term domestic programs means there may not be enough to jolt the economy now (about $290 billion in spending is pushed off into 2011 and later). The money spent on stimulus, meanwhile, means there's not enough to truly reform domestic programs like health technology, schools and infrastructure. The measure mostly pumps more money into old arrangements.

I agree with Brooks's larger argument that the stimulus bill is trying to do too many things at once, but the above point seems mistaken. The advantage of pumping money into pre-established arrangements is that it's easier to spend quickly. I have the feeling that if the bill were trying to "truly reform" technology and infrastructure you would hear complaints about long it would take to get those grand, delusional plans off the ground. Could the administration win either way?

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Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

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