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Some economists lose faith in the stimulus package

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Mary Ann Chastain/AP

(Read caption) Megan Elliot, 26, documents the decommissioning of the P-Reactor on April 12. While she and others have benefited from the stimulus package, 73 percent of those polled in a new study found that nothing has changed.

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This news story should have come as a surprise, but it’s become easy to expect economists to change their minds after the facts contradict their earlier opinions. In that sense, few things seem as consistent as economists’ inconsistency.

After hearing them clamor so long for new stimulus and additional bailouts, we now hear they’ve changed their tune. The government-supplied “antidote” to the financial crisis was initially hailed as saving the nation, and perhaps the entire world, from depression. Now, a new survey of economists shows that they have actually decided, in looking back, that the whole stimulus basically wasn’t needed.

This from CNN/Money:

“In [the] latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years — but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.

“NABE conducted the study by polling 68 of its members who work in economic roles at private-sector firms. About 73% of those surveyed said employment at their company is neither higher nor lower as a result of the $787 billion Recovery Act, which the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers says is on track to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

“That sentiment is shared for the recently passed $17.7 billion jobs bill that calls for tax breaks for businesses that hire and additional infrastructure spending. More than two-thirds of those polled believe the measure won’t affect payrolls, while 30% expect it to boost hiring ‘moderately.’”

According to this survey, not even economists believe in the stimulus charade. Or, in the jobs bill for that matter. The facts on the ground — at their very own firms — simply show otherwise. On the upside, if economists, of all people, are finally skeptical of printing our way to economic nirvana, then maybe there’s a chance that the meddling will slow.

You can read more details in CNN/Money’s coverage of how economists now say that the stimulus didn’t help.

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