Originally Published: January 8, 2012 9:55 p.m.
Editor Tim Wiederaenders' Dec. 23 Catchall column, which basically stated that the stimulus only created more debt, is off the mark. I do agree that Tim is not a numbers guy but his conclusion is incomplete.
To see the whole picture, one must also look at what the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the stimulus prevented. They staved off a total financial meltdown, massive bank failures and a prolonged depression. They saved the economies of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana by saving the U.S. auto industry. The stimulus saved many jobs and kept many states solvent, including Arizona.
Without these actions, our IRA's and 401K's could be half what they are today. Unemployment would be more like 25 or 30 percent, many more businesses would have gone under and more people would have lost homes.
Bush's one good decision was TARP. Obama continued TARP and added the stimulus. These bold actions did not "blow us out of the water" but kept us afloat. These decisive acts minimized the effects of the recession and created a path out of the hole, created by years of deregulation, the greed of Wall Street, the Iraq War, and the Bush tax cuts. Be thankful that we have a president who listened to key economists and took bold action.
I do agree with Tim that we need to learn from the past. We did not learn from the Savings and Loan debacle in the 1980s. Hopefully we did learn from the Great Depression that we must have a fluid economic system with the ability of the government to spend when an emergency arises. If we had been required to have a balanced budget, we would be in a deep depression rather than on our way out of a bad recession.