Why we need a second stimulus | Sept. 1, commentary
Government stimulus won't work
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. But with Keynesian economic stimulus not having ever worked on a large scale, why does professor Laura Tyson still believe in it?
Keynesian economic stimulus theory failed almost from the start, the U.S. economy sliding into a deep recession in 1937 after massive New Deal spending. Some Keynesian economists blame it on Congress cutting spending, but ignore the lag in the budgeting cycle, as the New Deal was still going strong when the recession started. Others claim the New Deal didn't spend enough, pointing to massive war spending as the reason the Depression ended. This ignores the fact that the war devastated all major competing industrial economies, and that we ran a favorable balance of payments for decades afterward.
Why did economic stimulus fail again? Because borrowing to spend on "economic stimulus" did not stimulate the economy but just took funds from other sectors of the economy while piling on new regulation, restrictions, and the certainty of higher taxes and future cuts to pay for the money borrowed.
Borrowing enough to significantly affect your future finances may give you a short-term lift but will result in a net long-term loss unless you use it for productive purposes. The same is true of governments. Because of the inherent political and bureaucratic problems with government spending, it almost never is used efficiently and effectively for productive purposes.
Government cannot even truthfully define "productive," politicians and bureaucrats claiming all gross overspending is for a productive purpose, even if it's contrary to the facts and common sense. Proof of this appears almost every day in this newspaper: the "Taj Mahal" courthouse, the Clearwater Beach lifeguard station, Ray Sansom's airplane hangar, the $578 million school in near-bankrupt Los Angeles — the list is endless.
Every stimulus dollar the government spends is a dollar out of your pocket, whether from taxing or borrowing, no matter what it's used for.
James J. Klapper, Oldsmar
Obama: Time to fix economy, add jobs Sept. 1, story
Stop sending jobs overseas
In President Barack Obama's address to the nation, he mentioned restoring the economy and jobs for millions of Americans. As much as the president and everyone else would like to see this nation up on its feet, with new jobs for all of those who lost theirs, there is no quick fix.
With so many businesses lost and an abundance of massive layoffs, there is no magic wand to instantaneously provide the much-needed work to get the ball rolling.
Nevertheless, I am sick and tired of reading stories about large companies like Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, which is laying off 500 workers, mostly in Tampa, and is filling these positions with cheaper labor in India. No doubt PricewaterhouseCoopers is looking to save money in this grave economy. But wouldn't it have been better for our nation's economy to offer these workers a cut in pay instead of pulling the entire rug out from under them? Of course, no one really wants a cut in their pay, but it's better than no pay at all. And it's also better than a massive influx of people filing for unemployment benefits.
It would greatly please me if President Obama would put an end to taking jobs away from Americans and sending them overseas. For starters, that would be a step in the right direction in helping to restore our nation's economy.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
I surely hope that we will start seeing more "Made in America" stickers on our purchases over the next few years. Recently I bought an expensive golf club (a driver) and later noticed that it was made in China. I also recall how years ago we used to avoid "Made in Japan" items because they did not last long.
With all the people out of work in our country, perhaps a drive to encourage only buying products that are "Made in America" will help get the economy rolling again!
Tod McGinley, Sun City Center
Obama and the Iraq war
An advocate in the end
Declaring the Iraq war over on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama at the same moment waved the white flag for Democrats in the November elections. Speaking in prime time, Obama made a mockery of his — and his party's — long-standing opposition to this war in Iraq. He undermined the very campaign that ushered him into the White House and gave Democrats their majorities in Congress.
It was as if, in keeping his promise to end the war in Iraq, Obama had become a convert to it. He heralded the very success he had predicted could never be attained. He lauded the defeat of an evil regime "that had terrorized its people" — a despot he once considered an irrelevant distraction from what he called the "real war" that needed to be won in Afghanistan.
And, speaking to soldiers at Fort Bliss earlier Tuesday, he said that because of this fight, "America is more secure." Obama even talked about the importance of Iraq as a "friend" and a "partner" in the Middle East.
The address could have been delivered word-for-word by former President George W. Bush, whose steadfastness in Iraq earned him the blind hatred of so many liberals. The hypocrisy here is mind boggling.
Obama opposed the surge that brought about victory and voted to deny funds to the war effort. My how things change when you have the responsibility.
Jay Johnson, St. Petersburg
An unneeded war
The true spokesmen of "no" are griping that then-Sen. Barack Obama thought the "surge" in Iraq would not work. He was a member of Congress, as they were.
The generals and Defense Secretary Robert Gates designed the strategy, not any president. However, the then-president and his supporters sent our troops to Iraq in an unneeded war more than seven years ago, resulting in more than 4,400 American deaths, many thousands of our troops maimed and wounded, not counting the probable hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths.
I thank God that my grandson fought in the "surge" and came home well, but blame his hazard on then-President George W. Bush and company, not an individual senator.
Bob McEwen, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, Indian Shores
Fattening their accounts | Aug. 30, letter
The letter writer seems to be worried about how Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck make their money. Instead, she should be worrying about how the government is spending ours.
Luba Silverman, Palm Harbor