Yet another journamalistic enterprise that we would all be better off without, and that in a just world would dry up and blow away immediately. Menzie Chinn has the mike:
Econbrowser: Politico Does Economic Analysis...: Be afraid; be very afraid.
From "'Created or saved' doesn't add up", by Joseph Lawler:
...[t]he "created or saved" numbers are meaningless. The administration purposefully devised the metric to be nebulous. Without a counterfactual, showing the trend of unemployment in the absence of the stimulus, it is impossible to know how many jobs the stimulus saved.
But this is completely counter to what I learned in economics, and how, for instance, the CBO conducts analysis. I assume Mr. Lawler doesn't dispute the impartiality of the CBO (but who knows?). Here's the way real macroeconomists conduct analysis:
As the President has discussed, analysis done within the Administration has shown how his tax cuts have substantially offset the series of adverse shocks that have been buffeting the economy. Simulations of a conventional macroeconomic model show that, without the tax cuts, the level of real GDP would have been about 2 percent lower in the middle of 2003. About 1.5 million fewer people would have jobs today. The job market is not what we would like it to be right now, but it would have been worse without the Administration's actions. One can view the short-run effects of these tax cuts from a classic Keynesian perspective. The tax cuts let people keep more of the money they earned. This supported consumption and thus helped maintain the aggregate demand for goods and services. There is nothing novel about this. It is very conventional short-run stabilization policy: You can find it in all of the leading textbooks.
The writer is Greg Mankiw, discussing in 2007 a particular fiscal measure, namely the 2003 tax cuts.... I know counterfactuals and math are hard to fit on a bumper sticker. But one would hope that in an 800-plus word essay on economics (even if in Politico), some economic content could be included...