Larry Elder

Americans, says Time magazine, are too dumb to appreciate the wonders of President Barack Obama's $787 billion "stimulus" package. Gobsmacked by polls that show Americans don't believe government is smart enough to take money from taxpayers and give it to those it considers deserving, Time says: Voters tell "pollsters that even programs that have clearly helped (emphasis added) the economy, like the $787 billion stimulus, did no such thing."

"Clearly helped the economy"?

High-school science teachers say extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Where's the proof?

With the economy, we cannot conduct a "controlled experiment." For this, we would need two Americas -- one where Obama signed the stimulus and one where he didn't. If the stimulus economy produced more jobs than the non-stimulus one, then the stimulus "clearly worked."

Obama, through ObamaCare, increased taxes. With new regulations, he has increased the costs of doing business. And he has gone on an unprecedented spending binge, which has dramatically increased the annual deficit and the national debt.

Nearly two years under Obamanomics and its centerpiece $787 billion stimulus, unemployment has climbed and remains stuck at almost 10 percent, with more long-term unemployed jobseekers than at any time since the Great Depression.

Would we have been "clearly" worse off without the stimulus? Apart from our own common sense, we are left with historical examples and expert opinion. Let's look at historical examples.

President Reagan, in the early '80s, inherited an economy with 13.5 percent inflation, 21 percent prime interest rates, and an unemployment rate that reached 10.8 percent. He addressed this by doing the opposite of what Obama has done. Reagan sharply lowered taxes, dropping the top marginal rate from 70 percent to 28 percent. He slowed the rate of domestic spending. And he continued the deregulation policies of President Carter. Interest rates fell; inflation declined; and unemployment, after nearly two years, started dropping.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, continued the tax-hiking policies of his predecessor. Federal spending soared. The result? Unemployment during the Depression reached 25 percent and remained stuck in the teens until World War II. The subsequent destruction of foreign economies, which America helped rebuild, sparked a domestic boom. The dismantling of ill-advised worldwide trade barriers also helped.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.