This is from Lawrence W. Reed, with an outfit called the Foundation For Economic Education:
Adlai Stevenson’s description of the journalist as one who “separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff” was never more apropos than in the Sunday, April 5 edition of the New York Times. Adam Nossiter’s page A-16 article, “Louisiana, a Test Case in Federal Aid” makes lowly chaff seem like nothing less than the cream of the crop.
Imagine a thief who spends an afternoon pick pocketing a sizable crowd. In a few hours, he’s nabbed thousands of dollars in cash and a bag full of credit cards. He then spends a small fortune at some jewelry stores and makes off with the loot as a suspicious citizen who recognizes him cries “Stop!”
If Nossiter were covering this little episode, the story in the Times the next day would read as follows: “A Good Samaritan yesterday gave several gem shops a big boost when he bought more diamonds than the stores usually sell in a month. The benefits of the spending binge were confirmed by no less an authority than the store owners themselves, who promise to hire more employees if the generous customer comes back regularly. An obviously disgruntled passerby attempted to interfere in the matter by shouting as the customer left, but he was told by an angry store manager to leave well enough alone. Meanwhile, economists at the nearby state university are hailing the increase in local GDP.”
Make these substitutions and you have the gist of the actual Nossiter story in the April 5 Times: The Good Samaritan is the federal government, the jewelry store is Louisiana and the passerby who tried to rain on their parade is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl. Oh, I almost forgot: the people in the crowd whose pockets got picked are representative of the taxpayers of America but it doesn’t matter because they’re not mentioned in Nossiter’s story anyway.
The Times story notes that the feds have dumped more than $50 billion in money on Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. “Indicators suggest,” notes ace reporter Nossiter, that “dumping a large amount of reconstruction money into a confined space . . . has had a positive outcome.” It’s an “experiment” that he says bodes well for the flood of stimulus spending Washington is doling out to alleviate the nation’s financial woes.
Lo and behold, guess what has happened to construction in Louisiana? It’s up! (Apparently, not even government can spend $50 billion on construction without yielding some construction.) Nossiter quotes a professor who says this proves that “stimulus can have an effect.”
You gotta love it. You can read the rest by clicking here.