Bill Clinton: Stimulus Was Too Small

June 29th, 2011 at 3:48 pm | 14 Comments |

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Politico reports:

Former President Bill Clinton said he likes the economic stimulus — it just wasn’t big enough.

“I think the stimulus did as well as it could have done — there just wasn’t enough of it,” Clinton told reporters Tuesday.

President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill, signed into law in 2009, has since being a rallying point of contention for Republicans and conservative tea party activists.

Clinton has made his support for the stimulus package clear in the past, telling Fox News in 2009: “I think the stimulus package is well conceived. A lot of it puts money in people’s hands, with the unemployment benefits and the food stamps and the tax cuts. A lot of it keeps the states and local governments from laying off a million more people or having big tax increases with the aid to education and health. And then I think the energy and the infrastructure investments will create the jobs the president wants. So I like the conception of that.”

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • tommybones

    In other breaking news:

    Bill Clinton insists the earth is round. Of course the stimulus was too small… anyone who isn’t blinded by fact-free right wing ideology knows that.

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    Well, Clinton’s own ‘stimulus’– a large tax increase paired with modest spending cuts– was the diametric opposite of Obama’s strictly Keynsian one, so it’s interesting to hear him praise his successor’s programme. Apparently he thinks the ’09 stimulus was wisely tailored to the circumstances. Myself, I much prefer Clinton’s formula. The differences between the two and their respective results are as stark as things come in economic debate.

    • valkayec

      The two problems addressed by the two presidents were very different. Using the same prescription to address two very different problems would have been the wrong medicine for the economy.

  • valkayec

    Well, it clear from the comments on the original story at Politico that Clinton is no longer liked by the vociferous right, if he ever was.

    Of course, the stimulus wasn’t large enough. But who knew at the time how deep the recession actually would turn out to be? Plus, getting more out of Congress was a non-starter. The blue dogs weren’t into even greater debt and the GOP, as McConnell stated, chose to keep their hands off any policies (except to weaken them) as a way to undermine the President.

  • tommybones

    Um… “Obama’s strictly Keynsian” stimulus???? Say what?

  • tommybones

    “But who knew at the time how deep the recession actually would turn out to be?”

    Who knew? Lots of people knew, all ignored.

    • valkayec

      Name 2? Provide links to actual statements, please.

      • D Furlano

        Google stimulus too small 2009.

        It was widely written about.

      • pnumi2

        valkayec

        “Name 2″

        I knew. And I told several friends. But nothing in writing.

        I assume tommy knew. I’ll let him provide his own statements.

        The look on Nancy Pelosi’s face when she exited Hank Paulson’s office that day in October 2008 should count as 25 people.

  • Diomedes

    I would argue that it wasn’t the size of the stimulus that was the issue. It’s how it was structured.

    The core of the stimulus was actually tax cuts. Other parts were the cash for clunkers and save our homes boondoggles.

    A stimulus is meant to create jobs. That’s the whole point. And the best way to do that is public works projects. So if the stimulus had been designed from the get go with that in mind, we could have tackled things like road improvement, bridge repair or modernization of our power grid. That was the style of stimulus that FDR instituted with the New Deal which is why it was far more effective.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    valkayec, Paul Krugman did. And there are way too many links. Joseph Stiglitz did as well.
    GENEVA (AFP) — US economist Joseph Stiglitz on Wednesday warned that stimulus plans launched by governments were “too small” and “too slow” and said the West should help developing nations through the crisis.

    The 2001 Nobel economics laureate underlined that the 787-billion-dollar plan passed by the US Congress last week was insufficient compared to the millions of people who are expected to become unemployed.

    “We need a larger and better designed stimulus,” Stiglitz said at a press conference in Geneva.

    “The responses of governments are too small, too slow,” he said.

    Krugman has many such postings

    By the way, they are both Nobel prize winners in economics.

    • valkayec

      I’m not arguing with you, but were these statements made before the stimulus package was approved or after? There was a lot of confusion at the time because the economy was going downhill so rapidly. I remember Christine Romer saying they didn’t realize just how deep and badly hit the economy was. But a lot of the arguments on the stimulus seemed to come after it had passed.

  • armstp

    the output gap caused by the economic downturn was calculated to be $1.4 trillion. that is how big the stimulus should have been and it all should have went toward spending and not tax cuts which have a very small mulitplier effect.,

  • Raskolnik

    valkayec, Paul Krugman said before the Congressional debate even started that a $2 trillion stimulus was the minimum that would be needed to be effective in the circumstances, and that any tax cuts included as part of the final deal would be completely ineffective for any other purpose than getting the votes needed to pass it.