Appelbaum said in an August 2011 Times podcast that "the real problem is that there's this tremendous political pressure to get smaller, and everything we know about economics tells us that they should be doing the opposite, they should be getting bigger right now....it's as cheap as it's ever been to borrow money, invest it in infrastructure, invest it in things that will pay off in the long run, and help out the economy." On Saturday he and Schwartz (who also likes government stimulus) argued:
Federal government spending often falls after recessions and wars, but the current round of cuts in investment and spending on goods and services is unusually deep. Combined with cuts by state and local governments, the drop in government’s contribution to economic growth is the largest in more than 50 years.
The economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating that growth remains a problem. The woes made the New York Times front page on Thursday, "Growth Halted In 4th Quarter Despite the Fed," though the story by Nelson Schwartz and Binyamin Appelbaum was not prominently featured (and Obama wasn't mentioned until paragraph 12, in a quote from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee). The Washington Post made it the lead story under the headline "GDP shrank at end of 2012."
But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes -- federal, state and local -- than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.
Reporter Matt Bai wrote on the paper's Caucus blog Monday that “A bunch of my liberal friends applauded and sent around this piece, which seemed to validate their sense that the conservative argument about government dependency is specious -- that, in fact, the poor are getting a smaller share of government assistance than they used to, while middle-class voters who resent government are gobbling up more of it.” Although Bai saw some warning signs for the left in the story as well.
Double standards on story placement in the New York Times? A “Political Victory” for the White House over trade deals that promise only “small” economic benefits was trumpeted in the headline to Thursday’s lead story, while a “major setback” for Obama and his jobs bill was buried on Wednesday’s inside pages.
The New York Times’s “Caucus” podcast last Friday was focused on the financial crisis. Washington correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum, who focuses on financial issues, joined hosts Sam Roberts and Michael Shear to call for yet more federal spending on infrastructure "investment" in the face of a national debt of $14 trillion.
Binyamin Appelbaum: “....we’re in the middle of this economic malaise, as you said it a moment ago. And for governments, the real problem is that there’s this tremendous political pressure to get smaller, and everything we know about economics tells us that they should be doing the opposite, they should be getting bigger right now.”
Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but in late August 2010 Ben Bernanke took on complete responsibility for everything -- especially everything mediocre or bad -- that occurs in the economy.
I know this because on August 27 and 28 (covered here and here), the Associated Press issued three reports essentially telling readers that it was up to Ben to save us. There wasn't anything Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or then-present Larry Summers could possibly say or do to improve the economic situation, described at the time as "appears to be stalling" in one of those AP items.
Out of this came what has come to be known as "QE2" (the second round of "quantitative easing"), otherwise known as "electronically printing money to buy U.S. debt because possibly no one else will."