Jackie Calmes: No Reputable Economist Would Deny Success of Obama 'Stimulus'

Halfway through the February 19 edition of the PBS talk show Washington Week in Review, the Times Washington reporter Jackie Calmes, an ardent defender of Obama's enormous "stimulus" spending, again took up arms, suggesting anyone who disagreed with the package's effectiveness was just playing politics, since all economists agree that the stimulus was needed and has worked.

Jackie Calmes: Well, let's start with first: The argument of whether or not the stimulus worked is a mostly political one. I mean, you can hardly find an economist who will tell you that A, it wasn't needed, and B, that it hasn't worked. Has it worked as well as it was advertised by the administration at the outset? No. But the economy's also worse than it was projected to be at the outset. So it'll always be impossible to know what would had it been like without the stimulus. But I don't think there's any disagreement among economists without a partisan axe to grind that it has been something you need. When you have families and you have businesses that are pulling back, you have to have the government out there.

As actual Stanford University economist Michael Boskin has argued, the point isn't whether or not throwing all that money around managed to stimulate spending somewhere, but whether alternative policies may have been more efficient.