Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feldstein on the economy

Martin Feldstein (Harvard economist) on the current state of the economy. I tend to agree with him on a lot of areas, but military spending is not the biggest multiplier effect. Direct government spending into heavy production that is also has a use within the economy is much more valuable. For example, buying new (more fuel efficient) school buses would have at least the same effect as building tanks in terms of production, but without the costs of shipping them to Iraq/Afghanistan. Additionally, new buses will lower transportation costs for many school districts. Another directing spending example could be police, fire, or ambulances. If you want to spend it on military then look for things that can also provide a productive use domestically (i.e. cargo planes). Estimates of the military spending multiplier are approximately one. Yesterday we saw direct government spending in goods used domestically has a multiplier effect between one and 2.5.The benefits of military spending are in the production of new goods, we can get the same benefits of production combined with an added multiplier effect if these goods are also usefully in the domestic economy.

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