Calls to ‘Rein in the Federal Government’ Are ‘Not Very Rational,’ Al Hunt Declares on ABC

“The side that talks about the need to rein in the federal government” is “not very rational,” yet “is winning” the debate over whether to pass another “stimulus” bill, Al Hunt regretted on Sunday’s This Week on ABC.

The former Washington Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, who’s Washington Editor for Bloomberg where he hosts Bloomberg TV’s Political Capital show, fretted over how “right now, that argument – that we have to rein in because the stimulus didn’t work -- well, I think most economists would say the stimulus did work in the sense it would have been a lot worse if there hadn’t been one.”

Hunt’s assessment came in reaction to an outnumbered Dan Senor, the lone voice on the panel against additional government spending to spur the economy and who warned of a Greece in our future. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman charged the 2009 stimulus bill wasn’t big enough and proposed that in the face of a likely $20 trillion debt in ten years, “whether we borrow another $500 billion now” is “really trivial,” Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Constitution yearned for a new “robust stimulus” and Jorge Ramos of Univision declared: “We need more government intervention.”

Hunt (columns), however, took aim at the rationality of anyone opposed to massive additional government spending, as he expounded on the July 4 This Week:

AL HUNT: I think the fundamental problem here, Jake [Tapper], and Dan [Senor] I think what you're talking about is five, seven, ten years out, not right now. We can't walk and chew gum at the same time. We ought to be dealing with long-term deficits in the long-term, and short-term stimulus, which this incredibly sluggish economy needs right now.

The politics just are lousy, though Jake. I don't know if it's Republicans, if it’s conservative Democrats, but the side that talks about the need to rein in the federal government – this is not very rational, has really, is winning that debate. And when you talk to people about the stimulus, Paul [Krugman] may be right there should have been a bigger stimulus. Barack Obama thinks there should have been a bigger stimulus. The reason there wasn't is you couldn't get it through even a year ago. I mean, meet Ben Nelson, but-

JAKE TAPPER: Or Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe or Arlen Specter.

HUNT: But right now, that argument – that we have to rein in because the stimulus didn’t work -- well, I think most economists would say the stimulus did work in the sense it would have been a lot worse if there hadn’t been one. But when people talk about the stimulus, they associate it with bank bailouts and auto bailouts which had nothing to do with this.
From April: “Bloomberg Editor Al Hunt Attacks Tea Partiers: 'That's Not America'”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center