Take No Prisoners

Food Stamps and Infrastructure Spending More Stimulating than Tax Cuts

It seems that the center and left-leaning media are going bonkers over the following estimates from Moody’s Economy.com:

Fiscal Bang for the Buck

The major implication of this is that infrastructure and food stamps are significantly more effective means of stimulus than tax cuts. Therefore, the stimulus bill should include only infrastructure and food stamps spending, and no tax cuts.

Now, MSNBC and Co. are screaming that Republican attempts to trade more effective spending for less effective tax cuts smacks of insanity. I have two comments on this:

First, The whole idea of creating a law by negotiating is insane and doomed to failure. A stimulus package is a socio-technical artifact that needs to be rationally designed based on facts.

Second, where the hell did these numbers come from??? I spent the last hour trying to find out how Moody’s came up with these numbers and I can’t even find the original report? Did they pull them out of their collective ass or what? This brings me to my second point: freedom of the press notwithstanding, society needs to hold the media to two very important (and related) standards. First, no lying. Ever. That includes Hannity. Second, I think we need to regulate the way information is sourced. Saying, ‘according to Moody’s economy.com’ is nearly useless. You can never get away with this in scientific writing and for good reason. News organizations must be required to provide sufficient information to actually find the reports they refer to. This is the only way to stop the distressingly common phenomena where some asshole makes something up, which is then picked up by more and more blogs until some network reports it, and before you know it, millions of people think Obama is a radical muslim.

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