Tag Archives: economic stimulus package

Expensive Jobs

Through June, the government spent about $620 billion of stimulus money. The Obama administration claims that the spending has saved or created 2.3 to 2.8 million jobs.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume those job creation numbers are true. In fact, let’s pick the rosiest number — 2.8 million jobs.

At a price of $620 billion, that comes out to $221,428.57 per job. Startlingly inefficient.

Now consider that that $620 billion had to come from somewhere else. Some of that money came from taxes. That leaves less money left over for consumers and businesses to spend. Some of the stimulus money was borrowed. That leaves less capital for private companies borrow.

The private sector tends to spend less than the government to create a job. Since stimulus spending is spending more money to create fewer jobs than the private sector, it is actually causing net harm to the job market.

In place of the spending stimulus, I humbly offer a deregulatory stimulus. CEI VP Wayne Crews and I offer some specific proposals here.


The Economic Way of Thinking about Stimulus Packages, Part II

In light of the news about stimulus job creation statistics not being as advertised — complete with made-up Congressional districts — I offer another surprisingly relevant insight from Mises’ Human Action. Turns out there is a reason stimulus advocates are resorting to trickery:

“If government spending for public works is financed by taxing the citizens or borrowing from them, the citizens’ power to spend and invest is curtailed to the same extent as that of the public treasury expands. No additional jobs are created.”

-Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 4th ed., (Irvington-on-Hudson New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996 [1949], p. 776.

The Economic Way of Thinking about Stimulus Packages

“[A] government can spend or invest only what it takes away from its citizens… its additional spending and investment curtails the citizens’ spending and investment to the full extent of its quantity.”

-Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 4th ed., (Irvington-on-Hudson New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996 [1949], p. 744.