Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Delusional Analogy

Bob Herbert, who frequently makes a good bit of sense, starts his editorial in the New York Times today with a analogy that he dug up from some asylum somewhere,

Imagine that you’ve got the gas pedal to the floor (or almost to the floor) as you try to get your vehicle to the top of a mountain, where the road will level off. You’ve made real progress, but the vehicle is straining and wheezing. You’re not there yet.

Why in the world would you lift your foot off the gas and risk rolling back down the mountain?

He goes on to wax rhapsodic about stimulus spending getting us to the “top of the mountain” where a recovered economy holds the promise of jobs for everyone and to, presumably, Paul Krugman’s economy which is growing so fast that the deficit disappears in some magic process of relativity.

Why is he talking about “real progress” when total unemployment has gone from 17.6% down to… Oh, wait, it’s still at 17.6%. Stimulus spending is specifically about creating jobs, so how, precisely is he talking about how we “have made real progress” in the first place?

How does he maintain that we have “the gas pedal to the floor” as well? The first thing that Congress did, with Obama’s approval, was cut the stimulus bill from the original $1 trillion to under $800 billion, a 21.2% reduction. Hell’s fire, we started out by lifting our foot off of the gas pedal.

How does he know that the road “levels off” either? How does he know but what after the top of the hill the road tops off and goes straight down hill again? We spend like crazy to create jobs to get people spending to buy houses and cars on credit and what have we done? We’ve rebuilt an economy based on consumer spending and on credit, exactly like the economy that just failed us; an economy that’s based on people buying things and not on people building things.

His premise may or may not be right, I’m not an economist, but his analogy sure as hell needs some work.

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