FDR's secretary of Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, who served from 1934 to 1945, wrote in 1939: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. ... I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot!"
What about the "stimulus worked" experts?
In a study widely cited by the stimulus-supporting media, economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi wrote: "We estimate that, without the government's response, GDP in 2010 would be about 11.5 percent lower, payroll employment would be less by some 8 1/2 million jobs, and the nation would now be experiencing deflation."
Case closed? Hardly.
Blinder is a liberal Princeton economist who advised President Bill Clinton and presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry. House Democrats happily call Zandi -- with whom they agree and who advised presidential candidate John McCain -- a "conservative Republican economist." Democrats say that if a "conservative Republican economist" says the stimulus worked, why, it must be true! Except Zandi himself says, "I'm a Democrat." Oops.
Zandi explains: "I didn't view (McCain) as a Republican or Democrat." Exactly. Neither did many Republicans. He continues, "I thought he was a very earnest fellow who was willing to take positions that were right but weren't necessarily popular." That's right. "Maverick" John initially opposed the Bush tax cuts because they "benefited the rich." Why, among many other reasons, do you think most Republicans wanted someone else?
Here's the deal. Most economists in academia, where the media go for quotes, are lefties.
In 2001, American Enterprise looked at the political party registrations of faculty in a cross section of big and small colleges, both public and private, in all regions of the country. In every college and university surveyed, liberals in the economics departments vastly outnumbered conservatives. At Harvard, 15 econ faculty members belonged to the Democratic or other left-wing party, and only one was a Republican or libertarian. At Stanford, 21 were "left" and seven "right." At Syracuse University, 15 were left, one right.
NPR interviewed both Zandi and Stanford economist John Taylor about Zandi's study. Taylor said, "I just don't think there's any evidence. When you look at the numbers, when you see what happened, when people reacted to the stimulus, it did very little good."
Is it unfair to be skeptical of the opinions of left-wing economists -- just because they're left-wing? Not if you agree that a) conservatives believe what they see and b) liberals see what they believe.
Clear enough for you?