Binyamin Applebaum on the sequester and government spending

It is a very good piece, and here are the parts citing me:

“People focus on the upfront cost and they don’t think through the whole timeline,” said Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University and an occasional contributor to the Sunday Business section of The New York Times. “You have to cut spending within the next 10 years anyway. It may be time to take some lumps.”

Of course there is a contrasting attitude that we can and will do this instead in the time of a rip-roaring recovery.  And:

 “It is cutting some of the best spending that government does,” Professor Cowen said of the cuts that would fall on the domestic side of the ledger. He said Congress should focus instead on cuts to military spending, farm subsidies and health care programs like Medicare that he regarded as ripe for reductions.

He said that military contractors and personnel might be able to find new jobs with relative ease, because unemployment rates are fairly low for well-educated workers; it is those with less education who are struggling most.

Of course the piece presents some other opinions as well.  It’s also worth noting that in 2008-2009 I argued repeatedly that fiscal stimulus should have concentrated more directly on propping up state and local expenditures, and that many of the other projects, such as high-speed rail, were a waste and would only temporarily boost employment if that.  In retrospect I believe that advice is holding up quite well.


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