Friday, August 12, 2011

Bob Pollin on the failure of the fiscal stimulus

A nice paper by Bob Pollin on why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) failed to produce a vigorous recovery. In his view:
"I advance three reasons for the failure of the ARRA to achieve a strong recovery: 1) The ARRA relied too heavily on tax cuts as a means of bolstering private spending; 2) Household wealth declined dramatically during the recession, tied to the collapse of the financial bubble. This in turn weakened the willingness of households to increase spending; and 3) Credit markets were locked up, especially for smaller businesses, despite the highly expansionary monetary policy stance adopted by the Federal Reserve. Building on these findings, I finally develop a series of policy proposals aimed at promoting both a strong recovery in the short term and at reducing any remaining structural deficit issues in the longer term. The short-term program focuses on extending loan guarantees, especially to small businesses; and taxing the excess reserves held by commercial banks. The longer-term agenda focuses on reducing government costs for health care and the military, and on increasing revenue through establishing taxes on financial market transactions."
The whole paper here.

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