Advocates like myself of renewed fiscal stimulus for the US, Germany and some other EU countries have to answer a lot of weak arguments. One that especially riles Paul Krugman's cult-followers is the idea that balancing a nation's budget is exactly like balancing a household's budget. Well, they're right about that: it isn't, for the reasons Krugman tirelessly points out.
One qualification: when a nation's budget deficit does have to be curbed, the prudent household story is not a bad political tool to use. Margaret Thatcher deployed it to good effect when it mattered. Meryl Streep has a little speech on the subject in The Iron Lady. My inner pragmatist says politicians shouldn't be too squeamish about using bad economics in a good economic cause.
Still and all, it's annoying. Simon Wren-Lewis points to two more species of annoying anti-stimulus arguments. (1) Arguments that ignore the zero lower bound for interest rates, and (2) arguments that say fiscal stimulus is Econ 101, and the profession has moved on. I've nothing to add to Wren-Lewis's critque of that pair. When you're right, you're right.
But I noticed that one of Wren-Lewis's commenters said we should also acknowledge, for the sake of balance, a few annoying pro-stimulus arguments. (1) Arguments that invoke the ZLB but ignore inflation. (2) Arguments that ignore the possibility that temporary fiscal stimulus might lead to a permanent increase in government spending. "There's nothing so permanent as a temporary government program"--Milton Friedman. (3) Pro-stimulus arguments that ignore the possibility of tax cuts.