January 10, 2009

Stimulus Plan Evolves

Larry Kudlow is more optimistic than you might expect about Obama's stimulus plan, largely because of how the plan's focus has shifted toward tax cuts as Obama has listened to his advisors:

Nobody really believes infrastructure spending will end the recession or create permanent new jobs. However, it’s interesting just how much the Obama plan has changed since the election. The size has been roughly constant. But the mix of tax cuts and spending increases is now totally different.

Instead of $100 billion worth of tax credits, there are now $300 billion worth of tax cuts. This includes a big new piece for business, more cash-expensing for small-business investment, and a restoration of the five-year tax-loss carry-back, which will especially help banks and homebuilders. It might even result in tax refunds for businesses, and might also allow banks to rid themselves of toxic assets, since the losses will now be spread over many years.

So what we have now is an $800 billion stimulus package with $300 billion of so-called tax cuts which could infer less spending than before — maybe only $500 billion worth.

Obama’s economic advisers are bragging to me about their new tax-cut package. They say they’re very pro-growth. And you know what? I acknowledge it. People like Larry Summers, Austan Goolsbee, Christy Romer, and Tim Geithner are no left-wing big-government whackos. They may not be hard-core supply-siders. But in terms of the economics profession, I would call them center-right.

And they absolutely understand the importance of private business and investment in the job-creating economic-growth process. And I think they’re (sic) views are the main reason for the reshaping of the Obama package between the campaign trail and the eve of inauguration.

Posted by dan at January 10, 2009 8:32 PM