Monday, June 11, 2012

The Stimulus Did What?!?

We have continually heard from our right-wing "friends" that the stimulus did nothing to help the economy.  Below are a few graphs that illustrate what was happening before the stimulus and what has happened after the stimulus.  There charts are available over at Mosler Economics.  I found them via Applesauce.

The stimulus certainly had an effect...and most of it was good.


  1. Yes, but it's even better if you can claim the Stimulus was a complete failure was an unprecedented growth of evil kenyan marxist usurper government all the while taking the federal funds and claiming you were doing such a fine job for your constituents!

  2. These graphs and charts are very informative. Unfortunately, the people who are mesmerized by Fox and talk radio won't be effected by a graph. A simple 3 or 4-word soundbite is all these people can grasp, and their rightwing mentors are full of them.

  3. Those graphs tell the truth dramatically. Unfortunately, Republicans lie incessantly, and more people are exposed to the never-ending drum beat of Republican lies than ever see and make sense of even a couple of those graphs.

    Regarding the one showing total business investment, I wonder if that's purely domestic spending. I suspect it includes a lot of overseas investment.

  4. Tom, more than a decade ago, I read that some godawful high percentage of people shown a handful of graphs about the economy couldn't make sense of most of them. The graphs were like ones covered in junior high where I went to school. I expect Republicans are aware of this deficit many people have and so feel all the more emboldened to tell their lies.

  5. The Heathen Republican believes that this is absolute proof that we were saved by The Stimulus.

  6. Now John, I am sure Heathen has another set of 21 plots that shows just the opposite. As you know, we operate with a diifferent set of "facts".

  7. Yes, Mr. Critter, I do realize this.

  8. That just about sums it up - anyone voting for Romney is a naive, deluded fool.

  9. Tom Harper: "These graphs and charts are very informative. Unfortunately, the people who are mesmerized by Fox and talk radio won't be effected by a graph."

    S.W.Anderson: "Those graphs tell the truth dramatically. Unfortunately, Republicans lie incessantly, and more people are exposed to the never-ending drum beat of Republican lies..."

    Jack Jodell: "That just about sums it up - anyone voting for Romney is a naive, deluded fool."

    All, there are some very obvious flaws in several of these graphs. How many of you can put down your Kool-Aid, put on a critical thinking hat, and see if you can spot a few problems.

    Don't worry, I'll offer some of my own feedback, but I can't help but notice how everyone is so happy to accept these charts at face value, with absolutely no critique. Instead you rant about Republicans.

    Do any of you have the guts to critique your own, or is this only a safe environment for bashing the right? Is there any intellectual honesty among you?

  10. No takers, I guess.

    First critique: Each chart is selective in its data and there is no consistency. Some show year-over-year change, some month-over-month, some percent, some units, some dollars, and some have no unit of measure listed at all.

    This tells me, with my critical thinking hat on, that the author has a story to tell and chose only the charts that back up that story. Why not measure units for every chart? Or year-over-year changes? The answer, of course, is that they don't support the story.

    Second, the year-over-year charts are fascinating since they record the data monthly but track a year-to-year change. It should surprise no one that each of these (GDP, Personal Income) has a sharp V shape. That's a function of the manipulation of data, not reality.

    Third, if I had produced charts that looked bad for Democrats, with a big arrow where the stimulus was enacted, every one of you would correctly assert that the economy is dynamic and complex! We can't attribute causation between the stimulus and...
    -Nonfarm and private payrolls
    -Capacity utilization
    -Industrial production
    -Vehicle sales
    -Housing starts
    -Stock market
    -Value of the dollar and treasuries
    -Retail sales
    -Personal income and savings
    -Business investment
    -Consumer Price Index
    -Purchasing Manager Index
    -Oil prices
    -Household net worth

    Or am I wrong? Is that your supposition, that one stimulus package is directly related to an improvement in all of these things? Is our economy so simple?

    Those are the three obvious flaws that most of you are capable of spotting on your own, provided you know in advance that you disagree with the author. Apparently you suspend your critical thinking skills when the charts come from one of your own.

    I spotted those without even looking at the underlying data.

  11. I'm out of town this week so I don't have the time to refute any of the charts individually. But if I were going to, here's where I would start:

    1) We all know that GDP sucks. I would drop the year-over-year monthly report and track actual GDP. I would do it in units, then month-to-month growth. I'd do the same for Personal Income.

    2) The unemployment chart above isn't all that flattering, but I would adjust it for the Labor Force Participation Rate. The rate is slowly falling in the official number, but the reality is we have fewer people in the labor force.

    3) For payrolls, I would track actual units instead of month-to-month changes. For all I know, that's still a flattering picture, but by now I'm suspicious of the person who created these charts.

    4) To prove my point, I would do the opposite for Capacity Utilization, Industrial Production, Vehicle Sales, and Housing Starts and chart them by year-over-year or month-over-month change. Again, may not be a difference, but if so why did the author use so many different methods?

    5) ...I'm already losing interest, so who knows if I would take it any farther. I'd be tempted to inflation adjust the Retail Sales, Personal Savings, Business Investment.

    And I can't help but notice how Corporate Profits have taken off since the stimulus. That Barack Obama is so in the tank for Big Business, right? I can't believe how he created a stimulus that benefited rich CEOs at the expense of the 99%.

  12. You know I would never want to stir the pot, but Mr. Heathen, how about if you pick individual charts and challenge the data instead of challenging the set of charts?

    I would then be very interested to hear the liberal chartist response to the individual chart challenge. This gives you a HUGE advantage, Mr. Heathen, as you have 21 points to choose from (I guess. I did not count).

  13. It feels things are improving. Glad the charts show that... !! (glad you are back). B.A.

  14. Anytime that you throw 800 billion dollars into an economy you're bound to get get something out of it. The question is, could it (the stimulus) have been better constructed (more infrastructure and more money to areas of higher unemployment) to get a better effect and what are the long-term consequences in terms of inflation (couple the spending with Mr. Bernanke's hyperactive printing of money) and the debt? Hopefully, the improvements that you've cited will continue.

  15. You don't get much for a trillion dollars now days. Spend a trillion and increase unemployment buy some junk cars and you can sell some cars, raise oil prices and lower the worth of the dollar.

    I have changed my mind about the stimulus and now feel, even though it did not create one permanent job, it removed some rusted out cars off the road and that was probably worth it.

  16. existing perpetually; everlasting, especially without significant change.

    I may be leaning to Obama now that Carter is attacking him. I think JC is pissed because Obama is going to unseat him as the most incompetent president in history. When Jimmy talks, nobody listens.

  17. OK, skud. Now name me a job that fits your definition. The only one that comes to mind is Supreme Court Justice which happens to be a government job.

  18. On a local level, politicians up the wazoo took credit for the good the stimulus did...even the R ones. Only in front of national press did the idiots in office bash the stimulus.

  19. Jerry- Good point- the majority of States have "At Will" employment meaning the can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. You rarely see any job in the classifieds listed as "permanent" (they used to ) now it is just part time or full time.

    The only thing that really remained stable during the pre & post Stimulus was *tax cuts for the rich*.

    Here we are now.... soon to hit the $16 trillion Ntl Debt (Bush 2 alone racked up $13 Trillion in debt & the interest alone, guaranteed the debt would increase).

    What blows my mind id the Repug presidential (un)hopeful is a guy who stashes his money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes.
    As far as I am concerned, he should run for president of the Cayman Islands.... because his so called patriotism ends at his bank account.
    He cares.... but not enough to give tax $ to the USA.

  20. I am correcting myself, because I wondered, just how many US states have At Will employment...

    I. The At-Will Presumption
    Employment relationships are presumed to be “at-will” in all U.S. states except Montana.
    The U.S. is one of a handful of countries where employment is predominantly at-will. Most countries throughout the world allow employers to dismiss employees only for cause. Some reasons given for our retention of the at-will presumption include respect for freedom of contract, employer deference, and the belief that both employers and employees favor an at-will employment relationship over job security.
    A. At-Will Defined
    At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
    At-will also means that an employer can change the terms of the employment relationship with no notice and no consequences. For example, an employer can alter wages, terminate benefits, or reduce paid time off. In its unadulterated form, the U.S. at-will rule leaves employees vulnerable to arbitrary and sudden dismissal, a limited or on-call work schedule depending on the employer’s needs, and unannounced cuts in pay and benefits.

    Sounds more like the Koch bros. wet dream.

  21. Fran,

    You hit it on the head. Employers should not have the ability or right to fire anyone regardless of their job performance or the companies needs. After all, look how well that works for Greece and France.

    What money is it that Romney keeps offshore illegally. Our Tax The Rich president fails to acknowledge that he had a chance to change the tax code in his first two years. I admit that he had a lot of evolving going on at the time but he missed an opportunity and now it is everyone else fault he has accomplished nothing except tax the middle class and small businesses.

  22. The blog is very helpful, maintain putting up beneficial info

  23. Jerry,
    I'm getting concerned. You haven't posted in a very long time - are you doing ok? Perhaps I've missed something somewhere, but I'm hoping you're not death;y ill and will return soon. Are you still out there, my friend?

  24. Thank you for your concern, Jack. Everything is fine. I am just on a bit of a blogging holiday although I do make comments on others' blogs from time to time.

  25. Thank you for your concern, Jack. Everything is fine. I am just on a bit of a blogging holiday although I do make comments on others' blogs from time to time.

  26. J.C., like Ed Schultz says, "Let's get to work." :)

  27. Is that what Ed says before he assaults his wife now/