A stimulus consensus

A STIMULUS CONSENSUS…. For many on the right, the stimulus package that rescued the economy wasn’t just a mistake, it actually hurt the economy. Can anyone, anywhere, find a credible expert to support this nonsense? Nope.

The NYT reported this week on the consensus among economists on the importance of the recovery initiative. ABC News ran a piece yesterday that ostensibly sought to prove that experts “disagree” on whether the stimulus was “vital,” but nevertheless found a similar consensus.

Most of our panelists think the economy would be worse today without the big aid package, which totaled $787 billion and was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009. The bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, included money for tax cuts, infrastructure projects, education and aid to state and local governments.

“The stimulus worked,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Bank. Without it, “the unemployment rate would probably be closer to 11 percent” and the economy might not have grown at all last year.

Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com thought the nation would be “still in recession.”

“It played a significant role supporting recovery,” said economist Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial.

ABC found a couple of experts who argued the economy would have eventually started to improve on its own, but the Democratic proposal made recovery faster.

The number of experts who agree with the conservative Republican line? Zero.

As Matt Yglesias explained, “They’ve attempted to frame this as a standard piece of “experts disagree on shape of the earth” shoddy policy journalism, but what you’re actually seeing here is that despite their best efforts they can’t find anyone to endorse the standard Heritage/NRO/GOP view that the stimulus is harming the economy.”

That’s hardly surprising; this Republican crowd has been wrong about every major economic policy for at least a generation. What is surprising is that anyone might still take these folks seriously, given their uninterrupted track record of failure.