Fiscal Stimulus And Hypocrisy

Many Democrats, including Obama, have criticized Republicans for both opposing the Stimulus bill and helping to direct some of that stimulus money to their districts.  They claim its hypocrisy. Greg Mankiw argues otherwise:

It seems perfectly reasonable to believe (1) that increasing government spending is not the best way to promote economic growth in a depressed economy, and (2) that if the government is going to spend gobs of money, those on whom it is spent will benefit.  In this case, the right thing for a congressman to do is to oppose the spending plans, but once the spending is inevitable, to try to ensure that the constituents he represents get their share.  So what exactly is the problem?

Let me offer an analogy.  Many Democratic congressmen opposed the Bush tax cuts.  That was based, I presume, on an honest assessment of the policy.  But once these tax cuts were passed, I bet these congressmen paid lower taxes.  I bet they did not offer to hand the Treasury the extra taxes they would have owed at the previous tax rates.  Would it make sense for the GOP to suggest that these Democrats were disingenuous or hypocritical?  I don’t think so.  Many times, we as individuals benefit from policies we opposed.  There is nothing wrong about that.

The full post can be found here.

1 Response to “Fiscal Stimulus And Hypocrisy”


  • I agree with Mankiw for the most part. In this case, cries of Republican hypocrisy ring mostly hollow to me.

    That having been said, I do think there’s a right way and a wrong way for Republican congressmen to accept the stimulus money that they opposed. The wrong way is to have ribbon-cutting ceremonies where a big over-sized check is presented with the Congressman’s name on it, as he delivers a speech about the new jobs created and the money pumped into the local economy.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a Republican wrangling and dealing for as much stimulus money as he can get for his district, but if he’s going to show up on Meet the Press and claim the stimulus money has had no effect, it seems he should do the wrangling and dealing with as little fanfare as possible – thus, maintaining at least some dignity and integrity.

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