President Barack Obama’s fiscal policy could be summarized by St. Augustine’s famous prayer, “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
After pushing through a $787 billion stimulus bill, Mr. Obama plans to cut the deficit in half during the next four years. If this longer-term deficit-cutting is such a priority, it’s a puzzle why Mr. Obama celebrated a stimulus bill with $200 billion in spending in 2011 and thereafter.
The stimulus was supposed to be a massive, short-term boost to the economy but, on the terms of its Keynesian supporters, is neither massive nor short-term enough. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it spends $120 billion in 2009. Even if all this spending is optimally allocated to increase jobs and get money circulating in the economy — i.e.,