In Defense Of The Obama Stimulus

An unexpected but typically shrewd take from conservative columnist Irwin Stelzer in the Times. Money quote:

Spend now, and cut taxes now, and run deficits now. Build stuff that has a positive social value. Maintain faith in the currency by brokering a grand bargain to bring entitlement spending and therefore postrecession deficits under control. At the right time, call in all that extra cash that is sloshing around, thereby preventing inflation. And all will be well in this best of all possible worlds. Perhaps. But if hyper-spending by government freezes out as much or more private-sector investment; if consumers, seeing tax increases in their future, rein in spending even more; if the government cannot impose its cost-benefit test on politically directed infrastructure spending – then Obama will not have kept his head when conservatives about him lost theirs.

The key is leveraging this moment for long-term sacrifices from both Republicans and Democrats on spending. Defense and entitlements; corporate welfare and middle-class welfare; tax hikes and spending cuts.