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Major Op-ed News (stimulus-related!)


Martin Feldstein has a very significant op-ed in today's Washington Post. Feldstein, a right-wing economist who advises Republicans and staunchly supports tax cuts, urges a large stimulus package to stanch the damage from a recession. Previous stimulus packages have been watered down by Republican aversion to spending. But Feldstein points out that tax rebates won't do much, and so the best solution is spending on infrastructure. (Economists think that infrastructure projects are often too slow to help a recession, but, as Feldstein points out, this recession is likely to to deep and long enough that timing won't be a problem.)

This is not a controversial view among economists. But the fact that it's being made by an economist with impeccable conservative Republican credentials is a big deal. This could help Barack Obama draw immediate bipartisan support for what should be his first legislative initiative. (Indeed, Feldstein argues that the winner of the election should propose it in the Senate even before taking office.)

--Jonathan Chait