So . . . about all of those public works programs that the President-elect is packaging into his New New Deal? It turns out that a prominent public official–who is soon to be even more prominent–has come out and said that these programs “are totally impractical for countercyclical policy, regardless of whatever other merits they may have. In general, many if not most of these projects could end up making the economic situation worse because they would stimulate the economy at the time that expansion was already well under way.” These comments were made in January of this year, when fears of a recession were very much in the arena of public debate.
That official? Peter Orszag, the President-elect’s nominee to head up the Office of Management and Budget.
Kudos to Mr. Orszag for his honesty. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t get forced to eat his words anytime soon. And won’t someone ask him about his difference of opinion with the President-elect and demand that he seek to convince Barack Obama that his public works package will do no good whatsoever?