Paul Krugman Goes Meta
Alan Blinder Approves of President Obama on Economics

Dean Baker on Why the Washington Post Should Have Been Shut Long Ago

Dean on George Will as an information-destroying activity:

Beat the Press Archive: George Will claims that the stimulus packages passed in 2008 and in February of this year did not work. How does he know this? Well, because the unemployment rate is still very high. That is an interesting logical leap. Suppose a person has been diagnosed with cancer and is treated with chemotherapy. Three years later the person is still alive and reasonably healthy, but the tumor has not gone away. By Dr. Will's logic, the chemotherapy did not work....

Economists can test for the effect of the stimulus by using models that project what would happen in the absence of stimulus and compare this scenario with what actually happened. These models generally show that both the 2008 and 2009 stimulus strengthened the economy. Will is either profoundly ignorant of economics, or being disingenuous, when he implies that the Obama administration is somehow making things up when it claims that is has "saved" [italics in original] jobs....

Will also fails badly in describing the spendout rate on the stimulus. He concludes his column by telling readers that:

But one-quarter of Stimulus II will be spent this year. Another quarter will be spent in 2011. Half will be spent in 2010, an election year. Which suggests that Stimulus II is, and Stimulus III would be, primarily designed to save a few dozen jobs -- those of Democratic members of the House and Senate."

That's a cute story, but the problem is that Will's number refers to fiscal years. The 2009 fiscal year ended September 30th. The spending for calendar year 2009 will be roughly 36 percent of the stimulus, with another 50 percent to come in calendar 2010. Rather than being timed for the 2010 election year, the stimulus was designed to get money out the door as quickly as possible...

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?