This is all politically loaded terrain, and the Times should have found a spot to mention that these economist/authors are staked out in the debate. Blinder, a Princeton professor, served on President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers; he and Zandi were among several dozen economists, historians and others who recently called for more stimulus spending and tax credits to revive the economy and put Americans back to work.
As it should have, the Times did look for critical views of the new analysis, and found one at the Hoover Institution, which has become the go-to place for stimulus skeptics.
“I’m very surprised that they find these big impacts,” said John B. Taylor, a Stanford professor and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. “It doesn’t correspond at all to my empirical work.”
Mr. Taylor said the Fed had successfully stabilized the commercial paper and money markets, but he argued that its purchases of $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities have not been effective. And he said the Obama administration’s stimulus program has had “very little impact and not much to show for it except a legacy of higher debt.”
It would have been better to provide a little more information about Taylor’s empirical work to help readers judge the effectiveness of these programs.
Well done to the Times for highlighting the report, and bringing some data to the debate.