Norm Coleman: Neo-Hooverite


The incumbent in Minnesota has some very odd ideas about the economy:

“I would be very cautious if a stimulus plan becomes another excuse to simply spending more dollars,” the Republican senator said in an interview after a campaign rally Tuesday in Bemidji.

A stimulus plan is not an excuse, it’s an effort to prevent the country from sliding into an extremely deep recession. The evidence suggests that the most effective forms of stimulus are spending-side stimulus. But irrespective of that, the very meaning of fiscal stimulus is that you increase the gap between spending and revenue. Coleman prefers a neo-Hooverite approach of austerity budgeting:

Coleman’s recovery plan includes enforcing spending caps, freezing congressional pay, enforcing pay-go where new spending must be accompanied by like spending cuts, require the president to submit spending cuts to Congress, giving the president line-item veto authority, closing the tax gap of unpaid taxes, closing tax loopholes, making sure Social Security and Medicare are solvent in the future.

Some of these are okay idea for the long-run, others are priorities I disagree with, but in terms of short-run recovery all of them — up to and including gimmicky ideas like freezing congressional pay — would be counterproductive. Like Saxby Chambliss, maybe he can get Ben Bernanke to explain the basics of fiscal policy to him.