In the course of calling Americans stupid, merely because many Americans have a political opinion different from his, Joe Klein makes clear that he does not comprehend what the purpose of “stimulus” is. And it only takes the first paragraph for him to make his ignorance clear:
Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it’s been wasted on them. Indeed, the largest single item in the package–$288 billion–is tax relief for 95% of the American public. This money is that magical $60 to $80 per month you’ve been finding in your paycheck since last spring. Not a life changing amount, but helpful in paying the bills.
Um, well, here’s the deal: Stimulus spending is not supposed to help you “in paying your bills.” It is supposed to encourage you to go out and spend money. If people are using stimulus money to pay the bills, then the stimulus money has done nothing whatsoever to stimulate the economy.
And then we get this:
It turns out that what people are really upset about is all that wasteful money that has gone to political public works projects…except that the overwhelming portion of that money hasn’t been spent yet. Remember all those “shovel-ready” projects? Well, they didn’t exist. The big jobs-creating projects like the rebuilt “smart” electric grid, major highways and fast trains will come on line during the next year. . . .
So, in other words, assuming that the economy turns around completely by next year, we are going to engage in stimulus spending that will be entirely unnecessary, seeing as how the economy will have turned around (note that in assuming that the economy will have turned around by next year, I am simply adopting the expectations of the Obama Administration). But stimulus spending is supposed to impact the economy while the economy is still suffering a downturn. Once the economy has recovered, there is no need whatsoever for stimulus spending; in that circumstance, all that is accomplished by such spending is an increase in the federal budget deficit.
It seems to me that if Klein is going to condescend to the American people, and accuse them of stupidity and ignorance, he needs to ensure that he has his own thinking and facts straight. Otherwise, this entire episode simply serves as the latest embarrassment in Klein’s body of work.