The Stupidest Most Annoying Argument for Stimulus
By Arnold Kling
Mark Thoma recycles a chart from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities showing cuts in employment in education. Ergo, we need to send stimulus money to state and local governments.
I don’t mean to single out Mark. Every Democrat makes this argument.
I think it is a stupid argumentThe argument annoys me, because it assumes that state and local governments need more money in order to keep teachers. They do not. They could reduce compensation and maintain hiring or even increase it.
A reduction in the number of teachers only indicates that you need more money if the reduction comes from teachers quitting their jobs. If you are laying off teachers, that shows that you are making a choice to keep their compensation too high rather than have more on staff.
Unfortunately, nobody in the media will confront the people who are saying that governments need more money for teachers. Just once, I would like to hear somebody challenge President Obama or any other Democrat on this point. This is one of the subtle ways in which media bias works, as Megan McArdle points out. If conservatives were to make an equally stupid argument, they would be called out in the media. But liberals go scot-free.
[UPDATE: I want to apologize publicly to Mark and others for using the word “stupid” in the original post]