Feb 5, 2009

Alan Blinder on the expected waste from Obama's economic stimulus package

Advocates of more spending should also worry more about the quality of the projects and the government's ability to manage them effectively. The numbers are huge. For reference, total appropriated federal spending (excluding entitlements) is now running just under $1 trillion per year, and well over half of that is for national security. Thus, a $300 billion increase in annual civilian spending would boost that part of the budget by about 70%.

What government, or what company for that matter, can manage a rapid 70% budget increase without some waste, fraud and abuse? With legions of journalists waiting to write about exactly that, I worry that their stories might give the very idea of stimulus a bad name.

~ Alan S. Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, "My Economic Wish List," WSJ, February 4, 2009

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