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Paul Krugman sez:

President Obama hails the fact that stimulus projects are coming in “ahead of schedule and under budget.” Yay — but boo.

Ahead of schedule is good. Under budget — well, ordinarily that’s a good thing. But the point of the stimulus is to increase spending! So if we don’t spend as much as expected, that’s less stimulus.

Technically, maybe this is right.  But it ignores the political side of things, which in this case is probably more important than a few billion dollars here and there.  Back in the 30s, the WPA struggled endlessly with attacks on “wastefulness,” and those attacks were instrumental in keeping spending below the level it otherwise could have been.  Filling up bottles with money and paying people to dig them up may have been a nice metaphor for Keynes, but that’s all it was: a metaphor.  In the real world, if we want to maintain public support for stimulus spending, it has to be seen as fair, efficient, and well managed.  Obama is playing this exactly right.

 

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And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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