06 April 2010

"Stimulus" divvied up without regard to need or efficacy

Nick Gillespie asks how much influence politics has on the specifics of stimulus spending, but this point is the more important one:
Reason: Hit & Run | Nick Gillespie | Is Stimulus Spending Political?

Stimulus spending has been done without any consideration of unemployment or other economic factors. If the government seriously believes it can create jobs via public spending, [Veronique de Rugy] wrote last fall, then
We should expect the government to invest relatively more money in the states that have the highest unemployment rates and less money in the states with lower unemployment rates....

Yet, with a few exceptions, the data show that this is not the case. Many higher-unemployment states are getting far fewer stimulus dollars than lower-unemployment states.

This pattern remains in force and strikes me as a fairly damning commentary on the seriousness of the stimulus mentality. Look, government spending is always political in the sense that those doing the spending (or trying to restrain the spending) are expecting to get some sort of advantage out of their actions. Yet if you're spending money that's supposed to get the economy going again without any thought for what spots need it most, you're thoroughly incompetent on top of misguided.
That's JV work, Washington.  As usual.

Things like this bring us one step further from even the pretense that Congress acts for the greater good, and one step closer to the officially sanctioned banditry that they actually engage in.

Update (10 Apr '20) – de Rugy has done another version of this study, which accounts for Silver's criticisms. See Hit & Run post here. Here's one figure:
In total, Democratic districts received 73 percent of the total stimulus funds awarded and Republican districts received 27 percent of the total amount awarded.

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