Garett Jones--Economist at George Mason University
Many thanks to Megan for inviting me to guest blog.
Most of my research is on how intelligence--IQ--matters more for nations that it does for individuals. I've also done work on how monetary policy does or doesn't influence the economy, and on how we really didn't need to give unlimited bailouts to the big banks.
I'll talk about a few of these topics in coming days, but let's start off by rehashing the battle over whether the 2009 stimulus bill--ARRA, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act--really worked. I'm not talking about the tax cuts--I'm talking about the spending: green jobs, new government buildings, health clinic staffers. With my coauthor Dan Rothschild (now at AEI) I wrote two papers last year on the stimulus for the Mercatus Center at George Mason that got me thinking quite a lot about this.
The Keynesian theory of stimulus is elegant: When a recession needlessly throws people out of work, the government can hire them, and then those people take their paychecks and buy stuff made in the private sector. So it's a win-win: The government and the private economy both expand. No cruel tradeoff: the pie is bigger than before, there's a "multiplier effect." I imagine Keynes genuinely loved the thought of saving his beloved market economy.