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February 01, 2010

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What has been the economic impact of Obama's policies? Economists loyal to the President now calculate that his stimulus bill saved or created 600,000 jobs. Opposing economists point out the during Obama's term of office the country lost 4 million jobs, and they blame Obama's policies for much of that job loss, implying that Obama's policies have cost the coutry millions of jobs. Brendan Nyhan, not a economist, asserts without evidence that Obama has relatively little control over the economy, thus contradicting economists on the left and on the right.

Every profession tends to particularly value its own contributions and minimize the value of other inputs. Brendan's unsupported assertion is convenient because it makes his political analysis more important than economic analysis.

If Obama has relatively little control over the economy, as Brendan asserts, that would imply that Obama's "stimulus bill" was a waste of nearly $900 billion of taxpayer money. Also, Brendan takes it for granted that Obama's spending freeze was not proposed to improve the economy, but is a political move designed to increase Obama's popularity.

If an Obama supporter thinks Obama wasted almost a trillion dollars and is working for his own selfish ends rather than for the good of the American people, imagine what Obama opponents think.

Yglesias is wrong in asserting that the cause of the current and ongoing deficits is economic downturns. It's true that the current economic downturn is part of the cause, but this chart shows that domestic spending has increased dramatically. Furthermore, Obama's ten year projected budget shows a continuation of stupendous deficits even though it's based on incredibly rosy forecasted real economic growth of 4% per year.

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