The Economic Stimulus That Wasn't

| Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 0 comments |
by IBD Editorials

Economy: Did the hundreds of billions spent to stimulate the economy do the job? And where did all that money go, anyway? A new report crunches the data and finds answers that are devastating for stimulus backers.

Done by Stanford University economists John Cogan and John Taylor and published in Commentary Magazine, the report is blunt in its assessment of President Obama's Keynesian stimulus package: "There was little if any net stimulus."

Worse, say the authors, the White House with its bevy of hip Keynesian-leaning economists should have known it wouldn't work. "The irony," they write, "is that basic economic theory and practical experience predicted this would happen." In other words, the Obama camp should have known better.


France’s Solar Bubble Pops

by Carl Shockley

Two years ago, the National Assembly adopted one of those solar “feed-in tariffs” — a cute misnomer for a mandate that forces utilities to buy expensive renewable electricity at ridiculously high prices. Flush with visions for the solar future, the legislature set the price at 546 euros per megawatt-hour, almost ten times the market price of 55 euros that customers pay for electricity from other sources. Electricitie de France (EDF), the national utility, was obligated to buy from all comers, covering the costs with a special levy on other customers.

The result was an avalanche of expensive rooftop projects. Whereas EDF had received only 7,100 applications a year for such connections before 2008, by last December it was fielding 3,000 per day. “We didn’t see it coming,” French lawmaker Francois-Michel Gonnog told Bloomberg News. “What is in the pipeline this year is unimaginable. Farmers were being told they could put panels on hangars and get rid of their cows.” The government cut the price support twice last year but was finally forced to impose a three-month suspension in December.


Rethinking Evaluations When Almost Every Teacher Gets an ‘A’

by Jennifer Gollan

Grade inflation — a term normally associated with students — is widespread among Bay Area teachers, who receive so many favorable evaluations that it is impossible to tell how well they are performing, some educators say.

For the 2009-10 school year, just 40 out of 1,924 teachers — or 2 percent — reviewed by the San Francisco Unified School District received below-satisfactory performance reviews, district records show. Those figures are consistent with recent years: an average of 2.7 percent of teachers evaluated over the past five years received marks of “unsatisfactory” or “needs improvement,” records show. And education scholars say that in a system where all teachers are winners, a crucial gauge of teacher quality is essentially lost.


Chris Christie invites Illinois companies to move to New Jersey