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January 23, 2012

Top-Secret Larry Summers Economics Memo To Obama Reveals Stimulus Was About Advancing Political Agenda

And lots of other good stuff.

Now, in the below, the boldfaced, number points are Pethokoukis' digests, not actual quotes from the memo. The plain text below each bold title are the quotes supporting it.

1. The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda.

The short-run economic imperative was to identify as many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherently temporary. … The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.

2. Team Obama knows these deficits are dangerous (although it has offered no long-term plan to deal with them).

Closing the gap between what the campaign proposed and the estimates of the campaign offsets would require scaling back proposals by about $100 billion annually or adding new offsets totaling the same. Even this, however, would leave an average deficit over the next decade that would be worse than any post-World War II decade. This would be entirely unsustainable and could cause serious economic problems in the both the short run and the long run.

3. Obamanomics was pricier than advertised.

Your campaign proposals add about $100 billion per year to the deficit largely because rescoring indicates that some of your revenue raisers do not raise as much as the campaign assumed and some of your proposals cost more than the campaign assumed. … Treasury estimates that repealing the tax cuts above $250,000 would raise about $40 billion less than the campaign assumed. … The health plan is about $10 billion more costly than the campaign estimated and the health savings are about $25 billion lower than the campaign estimated.

via @jonahnro

More: Thanks to spongeworthy, quoting from The Atlantic, Obama was also told that "shovel-ready" chiefly applied to horse-shit in neat steaming piles.

But it is important to recognize that we can only generate about $225 billion of actual spending on priority investments over next two years. and this is after making what some might argue are optimistic assumptions about the scale of investments in areas like Health IT that are feasible over this period.

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posted by Ace at 05:14 PM

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