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Harvard's Jeffrey Miron Explains Why the Stimulus Package Failed

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron explains why the $800 billion stimulus package failed in a recent article.

What's interesting about Dr. Miron's critique is that he shows how the stimulus was a failure even if you take for granted liberal assumptions about economic policy (such as Keynesian economic theory), since it was so badly designed and executed that it failed to achieve its goals, spending wastefully while failing to revive the economy.  Indeed, the stimulus was so poorly tailored to the economy (and the goal of reducing unemployment) that Miron concludes that it was designed to reward politically connected "constituencies" and special-interest groups, like public-employee unions, rather than being focused on "economic stimulus."

Other Harvard economics professors like Robert Barro have also criticized the stimulus package. Barro called it "the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s."  Former Obama economic advisor Martin Feldstein, a Harvard professor who is a big believer in stimulus packages in principle, said that the stimulus designed by Obama and congressional Democrats was "poorly done"

Much stimulus money has been wasted.  It has gone to prisoners and dead people, wasteful welfare spending, abandoned bridges to nowhere, and unnecessary government buildings.  The stimulus subsidized foreign green jobs and wiped out jobs in America’s export sector.

The “'stimulus’ is not the road to economic recovery. It’s the problem, not the solution, writes Nobel Prize winning economist Vernon L. Smith.” Other Nobel Laureates like Gary Becker have also criticized the stimulus package.  200 economists signed a statement publicly opposing the stimulus package in an ad published in the Washington Post and New York Times.