Monday, August 22, 2011

A decade of stimulus

This doesn't qualify as breaking news, nor is it particularly earth-shattering (or even, frankly, surprising), but Mish Shedlock recently posted this list of fiscal and monetary "economic stimulus" programs to have been implemented over the past decade, and it's simply stunning to see them all compiled in one place.
  1. We had 1% interest rates from Greenspan fueling housing.
  2. We had wars from Bush and Obama fueling defense industry employment.
  3. We had two rounds of Quantitative easing from the Fed.
  4. We had cash-for-clunkers.
  5. We had two housing tax credit packages.
  6. We had an $800 billion stimulus package from Congress for "shovel-ready" projects.
  7. We had stimulus kickbacks to states.
  8. We had HAMP (Home Affordable Mortgage Program).
  9. We had bank bailouts out the wazoo to stimulate lending.
  10. We had Small Business lending programs.
  11. We had central bank liquidity swaps.
  12. We had Maiden Lane, Maiden Lane II, and Maiden Lane III
  13. We had Single Tranche Repurchase agreements
  14. We had the Citi Asset Guarantee
  16. We had so many programs the Fed must have run out of letters because they were not given an acronym.
That's certainly an impressive list, and it's not even an exhaustive one. Have the programs worked? Well, maybe (though as Mish points out, the statistics are underwhelming at best)... but if they have, then that just shows exactly how weak (and support-dependent) we've let our economy become, and how much work we've got ahead of us if we're ever going to enjoy sustainable prosperity again.

Anyone who continues to look to the government as the answer to their economic problems is looking to the wrong place. Even if we could afford to do more, it's far from clear whether or not it would do any real good.

[Mish Shedlock]

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