Time magazine has several good columnists. One is Fareed Zakaria. The thrust of the January 9 issue’s column was about the lack of prominence seen from rising nations. In the midst of it was this: “Chinese growth continues to be robust, though clearly the government is worried about the inflationary effects of the massive stimulus program it implemented after the financial crisis, which has created a boom-bust cycle and inflationary pressures across the country. The regime, however, is expert at dealing with economic challenges; political ones are harder.” Zakaria puts a little light on a little-covered note about China and its stimulus program. They laid out $586 billion.
Meanwhile, the Americans in 2008 (W era) laid out $152 billion, and $787 billion in 2009 under Obama. These numbers may seem to be pretty much on, but look at the size of their GDPs: in 2010 the US GDP was $14.66 trillion and China’s for the same year was $5.88 trillion. The US economic output is almost three times the size of China’s. So its stimulus was not in proportion. American growth in 2010 was, what 2 or 3%, and China’s was 5.6%. China plans to write off as much as 20%. America is likely to have almost all of it repaid. So America’s stimulus should have been bigger, but they are managing the tight money better.
And on the next page of Time mag, Joe Klein poses the questions that the Republicans have: How much government is enough? Should we reform welfare? “How do we support our citizens in a volatile, global economy while encouraging them to take risks and innovate? These are questions that are worthy of a serious presidential campaign, and this memorable, goofy crop of Republicans should, against all logic, be congratulated for raising them.”
When I put the parts of these two columns side by side, I do not read them as one is right, the other is wrong, as you might, JP. They are both right.
America should manage its fiscal policy with serious prudence and efficiency. And it should provide some level of support to its middle class, but it should constantly criticize and examine itself to see that the wheels of rewarding initiative are greased.
By the way, another great comment Joe Klein wrote in that column was, “the people who have the most to lose with a Romney presidency are the Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Fox News brigades, who accrue much bigger ratings when the President is a secret Muslim socialist leading the country toward bankruptcy and Sharia.” And he’s right about that too. It’s too bad that that kind of for-profit media have customers, though. I’m not bailing them out whenever they go under.