The post below used to be at this address:

When Kirk Petersen moved his "All That Is Necessary..." blog to a new domain, the post could have gone here:

He didn't put it there though.

I left two comments on that post. Those comments are below. Did Kirk hate them so much that he didn't move the post for that reason? He moved other posts.

Oh well, it was his prerogative. I thought maybe he'd actually say, "Thanks, Tom. I wasn't aware of that." He never did that though, even after weeks with the link up in my comment. He finally just killed the post with the link instead.

Generally speaking, people with his ideology don't like others to become truly informed. The honest and truly informed don't mesh with false-Zionism and laissez-faire-leaning capitalism. I want others to be honest and truly informed though so they will discern what's really going on and do the right things.

False-Zionist and laissez-faire-leaning capitalists obfuscate to dupe others. That's a fact.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Slow Down on the Stimulus, and Stop Saying "Depression"

Not even close.

My nomination for understated headline of the year goes to today's Washington Post: "If Spending Is Swift, Oversight May Suffer. "Gee, ya think?

The $827 billion stimulus legislation under debate in Congress includes provisions aimed at ensuring oversight of the massive infusion of contracts, state grants and other measures. At the urging of the administration, those provisions call for transparency, bid competition, and new auditing resources and oversight boards.

But under the terms of the stimulus proposals, a depleted contracting workforce would be asked to spend more money more rapidly than ever before, while also improving competition and oversight. ...

"We don't have the means to make sure we don't blow through billions of dollars and give it to the wrong people," said Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. "We're on track to lose billions, if not tens of billions, to waste, fraud and abuse."

OK, you might say, but maybe that's the risk we have to take, if we really are faced with a "catastrophe," as the President has said. If this crisis is "as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression," as Obama wrote in an op-ed last week, maybe throwing money at it now now now now now is the least-bad option we have.

Let's all take a breath. In the words of the headline over Cato Institute Senior Fellow Alan Reynolds column in today's New York Post: "It's a Recession, not a Catastrophe." As he documents in the table above, by many measures the recessions of 1981-82 and 1973-75 were considerably worse than what we are in now.

An average of 55 forecasters in the Jan. 15 Wall Street Journal survey expect real GDP to fall by another percentage point (a 2.1 percent drop in total) before recovering in the third quarter. If they're right, this would be just the third deepest postwar recession by that broad measure.

Measured by unemployment, on the other hand, this might well be the second deepest recession. The current unemployment rate of 7.6 percent is quite unlikely to reach the postwar record of 10.8 percent. But the Journal forecasters expect the jobless rate to top out at 8.9 percent after the recession is technically over - making this very close to becoming the second worst recession in terms of job loss.

In other words, there's really no excuse for Obama or anybody else using the term "Great Depression" in any discussion of the current economic situation. Unemployment in the Great Depression topped out at 25% in 1933 — making it a completely different category of event. We're looking at unemployment that might get to be as bad as the early 70s. Meanwhile, the inflation of that era is a distant memory and mortgage rates are dramatically lower.

I favored the autumn bank rescue as a necessary evil — the credit markets really were frozen, the economy really was in danger of freezing up, time really was of the essence. I don't see anything like the same urgency here. Remember also that in the bank rescue, the government wasn't spending hundreds of billions of dollars, it was investing. Risky investing, to be sure, but there's at least a theoretical chance that the taxpayers come out whole. But money spent wastefully is gone for good.

It's time to put on the brakes. Pare the stimulus bill way back, limiting the spending to projects that really will provide a short-term stimulus, and don't use the crisis to sneak through a decade's worth of pork. And President Obama, if you really want to demonstrate leadership this evening in your first prime-time news conference, take a cue from Alan Reynolds:

The president needs to be a calming voice right now, a source of strength. It's not helpful for him to be warning of a "catastrophe" and making vague, untenable allusions to the Great Depression. ... [R]ecovery will require more perspective and patience than we've been seeing from the White House lately, because time really does heal many economic wounds.

(Depression-era photo: The Market Oracle. Table: NY Post)


Jen said...
I couldn't agree more. Stop panicking and take a moment to consider all that is happening. Even if we do nothing we will likely be out if this in another six months so just hang tight!
Tom Usher said...
Hi Kirk and Readers,Pork is not good. You're right about that. However, the unemployment rate is not 7.6%. It's much worst than that.For political purposes, the method by which it was calculated was changed during the Clinton administration to make his efforts appear better. It was largely about making the so-called welfare-reform measures appear good (not leaving people in dire circumstances).There are sites on the Web that explain how this was done. Google it. If you can't find any, let me know. I'll help.Blessings To All,

Tom Usher
Real Liberal Christian Church

Sketch said...
well said!
Kirk Petersen said...
Sketch, if that was aimed at me, then thanks!Tom, thanks for the comment, but do you realize you're asking me to do research to refute my own argument? And, that to refute my own argument effectively, I would need to demonstrate that the widely reported unemployment rate from the Department of Laboris incorrect?In keeping with my practice of being responsive to commenters, I did a Google search for "unemployment rate clinton welfare reform". I don't see anything that supports your argument, although I confess I did not click all 295,000 links.If you have a link to support your statement, I'll be happy to look at it.
Apollo said...
@Kirk: You compare the peak of previous recessions to the start of this one...of course it is not as bad now as 1981-1982 or 1973-1975 or others but wait until this one peaks and then compare numbers. All you do right now is compare apples to oranges.
Kirk Petersen said...
Apollo, I hope you're wrong, but you may be right. I was basing this post on the WSJ survey showing economists expect unemployment to rise to "only" 8.9%. If it goes significantly higher, then it's a whole new ballgame.
Apollo said...
@Kirk. I would love to be wrong on this one...but economists usually have less knowledge about the economy than a goat farmer has about nuclear medicine. They are constantly wrong and revise their figures and estimates as events unfold.The reality looks different and time will be the judge.I do enjoy your blog as you present your case in an attractive manner.
Kirk Petersen said...
Thanks for the kind words, Apollo.
Tom Usher said...
Hello Kirk,Here's a good link for you: was pressed for time in my earlier comment. I won't be so casual here next time if there is one (no offense intended with that).Boolean helps. In future, try using Google's advanced phrase-searching. Group terms via quotation marks. I'm just trying to be helpful — No harsh/sarcastic tone.Blessings, One and All February 24, 2009 9:23 PM


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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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    • Tom, there's a simpler explanation, which I would have provided if you had asked.

      My new blog is powered by WordPress, which assigns URLs slightly differently than Blogger (Blogger omits words like "the"). The blog post, with your comments and others intact, is at I altered dozens and dozens of URLs by hand to try to make the redirect work properly, but it looks like I missed one.

      Nothing to do with Zionism, false or otherwise.

      • [Revised]

        Well Kirk,

        Not even a Freudian slip/omission, eh? Okay.

        I had expected some dialogue from you since you pointed out that your view was that I was requiring you to research to refute your post. I supplied the information/link and some helpful Google tips but nothing came back from you. Now, I must say that I don't believe I'm off base in concluding that you didn't appreciate at least the linked, enlightening information.

        If you did not consciously avoid fixing the one URL, so be it.

        I did leave room in my post for that — very little. As for simply asking you why the post and comments were missing at your new domain, now why would I have done that since you had blown off my second comment?

        If you want to engage in commenting back and forth to bear fruit, I'm all for it. I didn't initially comment on your blog post with a view that you wouldn't be willing to correct your assumptions or be unable to provide me with additional insights. I'm sure you've been exposed to facts I have not.

        So, no offense was intended. I still have no hard feelings or bitterness toward you.

        Nevertheless, you are a Zionists, aren't you? I don't trust the heart of Zionism and with cause. You shall know them by their fruit. That's truth.

        So, since I discovered your Zionist postings, I now take your postings, comments, and comment replies with a block of salt.

        It doesn't mean all Zionists never state a fact. I know though that whether consciously or subconsciously, they never tell the whole truth but rather deliberately avoid, obfuscate, and twist (lie).

        What the Jews, Israelites, or Israelis who hold with political Zionism have done over there in Palestine/Israel is unpardonable short of full repentance and atonement.

        It will be good if you turn and agree wholeheartedly. It will be bad if you don't. (There's no room for fence-sitting about it.)

        Bless You, Kirk,

        Tom Usher

    • Anonymous

      It's 2011 now and I'm seeing the  "If Spending Is Swift, Oversight May Suffer."comment. If that statement was true then, I think we are surely seeing further ramifications of that statement.

      • I'd be the last one to say that Obama spent the right amount on the right things at the right time in the right way. He spent way too little on many wrong things and regardless, too late and without proper oversight in his administration and from Congress. Of course, that's all mundane, secular crap; but.... most Americans can think their way out of a laissez-faire capitalist and/or Keynesian wet paper bag. I wish that would change. It could if they'd only try. Peace!