So far, it seems that Doug Ross' and AEI's assessment of the Summers memo from 2008 seems to line up.
1. The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda. Check.
2. Team Obama knows these deficits are dangerous (although it has offered no long-term plan to deal with them). Check
3. Obamanomics was pricier than advertised. Check
4. Even Washington can only spend so much money so fast. Check
5. Liberals can complain about the stimulus having too many tax cuts, but even Team Obama thought more spending was unrealistic. Check
6. Team Obama wanted to use courts to force massive mortgage principal writedowns. Check
7. Team Obama thought a stimulus plan of more than $1 trillion would spook financial markets and send interest rates climbing. Check
8. Greg Mankiw, economic adviser to Mitt Romney, was dubious about the stimulus. Check
9. But the Fed was a stimulus enabler. Check
10. IPAB was there at the very beginning. Check
11. The financial crisis wasn’t just Wall Street’s fault. Check.
And I'm only at page 34. 23 more pages to go.
Thing of it is, even AEI and Investors' Business Daily didn't get into all the details that taking my own look into the memo did, and even the article in the New Yorker (which started this whole discussion), while it gives the story of this memo in a nice, flowing, narrative, and even includes Summers' bombshell, that none of his recommendations “returns the unemployment rate to its normal, pre-recession level," it leaves much out that proves that the Obama administration has not been up-front with us about his economic policies. Some might even call it outright lying.
The remaining pages of the memo (34-57) go into (among other things) technical details regarding bank regulation, continued auto industry bailout, and plans for education improvement. One particular comment by Summers stood out to me in this last section:
"This section outlines our strategy for stabilizing the U.S. financial system based on work led by Tim Geithner. Our judgment is that we need to move quickly to put in place a program that satisfies the critical imperative of decisively restoring public confidence in the health of our financial institutions and improving overall market functioning. Doing so will require more resources--potentially considerably more--than those authorized under the TARP. An effective program for stabilizing the financial system is a necessary complement to your Economic Recovery Plan and to more targeted efforts to support the housing market. Without healthy institutions and robust markets, our efforts toward repair and recovery for the broader U.S. economy are likely to be compromised."It's funny that it took a crisis for the Dems to see what is economic common sense for us fiscal conservatives.
Lesson learned: if you put your political agenda ahead of the economic health of the country, you wind up with the cluster schtupp-laden nightmare that finally manifested itself in '08.
And yes, I largely blame the Dems for '08. It was government-forced (and therefore, funded) "fairness" (in this case for the housing market) that created an unstable housing market, leading to the crash. The GOP has its part as well for letting it go (ever since 1977) in the interest of scoring political points themselves, but this, too, proves my main point.
But was the lesson really learned by Dems? Two items in the appendix (the memo's final ten pages) don't really inspire that much confidence.
The first is a Green Energy agenda. Now, the memo makes a rather optimistic, if not unrealistic, assessment of what pursuing such an agenda ought to yield.
However, it fails to ask a central question: is it economically viable? Well, the downfall of Solyndra and other Green Energy Enterprises doesn't inspire much confidence at all.
And how in the hell can we dump billions of dollars into these boondoggles when we can ill afford them? But, like I said, the memo didn't discuss the economics of Green Energy much. But it does say that it was a "campaign commitment."
Once again, it proves my point. And Spain proved how much of a jobs-wrecker Green Energy was.
The second point was education. But I'm seeing about 90% attention being paid to physical matters (building maintenance/improvement), and not a whole lot to teacher accountability--which, in my view, is a lot more central to effective education than a nice building.
This item, however, really showed how economically clueless the Left is:
"The plan sets forth measures to assist more Americans enroll in college and job training
programs during this economic downturn. The plan will help ensure that every academically qualified student can realize the potential of a postsecondary education."
Think about this. #1: Economic downturn. #2: Encouraging people to undertake an expensive endeavor like college during an economic downturn. #3: Letting the government pay for an expensive endeavor like college during an economic downturn.
What could the end result of this economically genius approach be?
The so-called "99 Percenter," who has spent $86K on an esoteric degree and can't find a job for it. So, instead of using that supposedly agile mind to adapt to other work, he spends months in a tent whining about the success of others (and getting nowhere closer to paying off that degree).
Not taking into account that said success stories probably started out in the same boat as he, only this person decided to do something about it instead of expecting someone else to take care of him.
But that could be an entirely different post in itself.
Bottom line: Obama lied, the Economy Died.