November 9th, 2009
National Review Editors
The unemployment rate has hit 10.2 percent. All those laid-off Americans must be wondering why Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein still have jobs.
Romer and Bernstein, economic advisers to the Obama administration, warned back in January that, unless Congress enacted the $787 billion stimulus package, the unemployment rate would hit 9 percent by 2010. The stimulus would prevent this disaster, they promised, causing the unemployment to level off at 8 percent and then fall.
This can’t be simple incompetence; Romer and Bernstein are too smart. Nor was the extent of the crisis unknowable at the time. None other than stimulus-worshipper Paul Krugman called the team’s predictions “kind of optimistic.” That leaves fabrication: The administration sold the stimulus to the public on false pretenses.
The odds that the stimulus package would “create or save” millions of jobs, per the administration’s promises, were never good. The government is borrowing enormous amounts of money to pay for the stimulus. That money should be funding job creation in the private sector. Instead, it is going to shore up insolvent spendthrift state governments, to expand Medicaid and unemployment benefits, and to lay the groundwork for an aid-dependent green-energy sector that is going to drain the nation’s resources for years to come.