Stimulus Done Right By The Norse (Of Course)

January 26, 2009

Even though Paul Krugman seemed to take issue today with the comment from Dem U.S. House Rep Pete DeFazio of Oregon about Larry Summers here (comment appears near the end, though neither are named), I think DeFazio made a solid point about the comparative lack of infrastructure spending in the Obama stimulus plan, particularly in light of this story…

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Oil-rich Norway’s coalition government announced a 20 billion kroner ($2.9 billion) stimulus package on Monday intended to dampen the impact of the global financial crisis with tax cuts and increased spending.

(Finance Minister Kristin) Halvorsen said government spending will be increased by 16.75 billion kroner ($2.4 billion) for such projects as road and railway construction; maintenance and projects in townships; and renewable energy projects. The remaining 3.25 billion kroner ($466 million) comes as tax relief to business.

That’s how you do this thing, people; I don’t know the math off the top of my head, but DeFazio is talking about 18 percent of the stimulus on infrastructure, and Norway is allocating a hell of a lot more than that (interesting also that Norway has a higher per-capita income than the U.S. also, to say nothing of a universal, taxpayer-funded, single-payer health care system – and not to sound like the Krugman P.R. agency, but he also tells us this)…

The point is that nobody really believes that a dollar of tax cuts is always better than a dollar of public spending. Meanwhile, it’s clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts — and therefore costs less per job created… — because a large fraction of any tax cut will simply be saved.

And Krugman also tells us…

Basically, conservatives are throwing any objection they can think of against the Obama plan, hoping that something will stick.

But here’s the thing: Most Americans aren’t listening. The most encouraging thing I’ve heard lately is Mr. Obama’s reported response to Republican objections to a spending-oriented economic plan: “I won.” Indeed he did — and he should disregard the huffing and puffing of those who lost.

Word to that, yo, including this ridiculous example of the Repugs trying to (ahem) protrude ahead of the pack with their criticisms.

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