Against the Grain

In Defense of Waste

Those looking to defend the stimulus do not need to tie themselves in knots: “The point of stimulus spending … is simply to spend money--on something useful if possible, wasteful if necessary,” Jonathan Chait writes in The New Republic. “World War II was an effective stimulus that, economically speaking, consisted of 100 percent waste. If war hadn't broken out, we could have enjoyed the same economic benefit by building all those tanks and planes and dumping them into the ocean.” And, contrary, to Republican assertions, “the bill contains either zero pork or a vanishingly tiny amount, depending on how you define the term.” Projects they have labeled “outrages” include “funding for Amtrak, making federal buildings more energy-efficient, flood-reduction projects on the Mississippi River, and the like.”