CBS Offers Cartoon Defense of Obama Stimulus Plan

Harry Smith, CBS In an effort to explain Barack Obama’s call for a $500 billion stimulus package on Monday’s CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith patronized viewers as he turned to Fast Draw artists Josh Landis and Mitch Butler, who created an animated cartoon on the subject, promoting Obama’s public works program. Butler explained: "When the economy slows down, people look for a pick-me-up." Landis added: "And a stimulus check from government is like money falling from the sky." Butler then asked: "But what's better? Giving money away-" Landis interjected: "-or using it to build bridges, highways, schools, things like that."

Butler and Landis used economist Peter Morici to further explain: "The construction workers get salaries. The steel workers and concrete makers get salaries. They spend that money on goods and services and the money -- and that creates additional jobs, and the money keeps cycling through the economy." Butler added: "And when they're finished working, there's a new bridge that businesses can use to ship more products." Later, Landis observed: "And even though the government has to carry more debt to get the project done-" Morici explained: "It employs more people immediately, boosts GNP by a larger amount and leaves the legacy of investments in our economy, which will improve productivity into the future." Landis concluded: "...spending the money on bridges, schools and other projects gives us a better shot of prosperity down the road."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

6:46PM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Coming up next, the Fast Draw guys on how to get the biggest bang for your bailout bucks.

6:52PM SEGMENT:

Fast Draw Cartoon, CBS HARRY SMITH: As we reported earlier, President-elect Obama wants the incoming Congress to pass a new economic stimulus package as soon as possible. The price tag could total hundreds of billions of dollars, but how should all that money be spent to do the economy the most good? Here's our Fast Draw team Josh Landis and Mitch Butler.

MITCH BUTLER: When the economy slows down, people look for a pick-me-up.

JOSH LANDIS: And a stimulus check from government is like money falling from the sky.

BUTLER: But what's better? Giving money away-

LANDIS: -or using it to build bridges, highways, schools, things like that.

BUTLER: Here's $100. If you give it directly to a consumer, he'll save a little and spend the rest.

LANDIS: But economics professor Peter Morici says the benefit of that strategy is short lived.

PETER MORICI: They spend it on restaurant meals, on imports, things of that nature, and we have nothing to show for it down the road.

BUTLER: So sure, if I put my money towards a new TV, it will help pay employees, utilities, suppliers and so on.

LANDIS: Morici says as this $100 circulates, within two years it will boost the economy by $125. But if you take the same hundred dollars and use it to build bridges and schools-

MORICI: The construction workers get salaries. The steel workers and concrete makers get salaries. They spend that money on goods and services and the money -- and that creates additional jobs, and the money keeps cycling through the economy.

BUTLER: And when they're finished working, there's a new bridge that businesses can use to ship more products.

LANDIS: That workers can use to commute to work.

BUTLER: And this long-term benefit, Morici says, means that the original $100 will boost the economy by $350 in the decade after the bridge is completed.

LANDIS: And even though the government has to carry more debt to get the project done-

MORICI: It employs more people immediately, boosts GNP by a larger amount and leaves the legacy of investments in our economy, which will improve productivity into the future.

BUTLER: So while a stimulus check gives us a nice short-term gain-

LANDIS: -spending the money on bridges, schools and other projects gives us a better shot of prosperity down the road.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC