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FOX Trots Out Ann Coulter As Economic Expert To Criticize Stimulus Compromise

Reported by Ellen - February 7, 2009 -

It seems that on FOX News, the only credentials a guest needs are a willingness to viciously malign Democrats. How else to explain the appearance of Ann “Boombox” Coulter on last night's (2/6/09) Hannity as an expert to discuss the Senate's compromise on the stimulus plan? With video.

With slurred words, Coulter, who has no discernible expertise in economics, provided just the kind of thoughtful and insightful analysis of the stimulus plan you'd expect from her.

First, she declared the three Republican Senators (Snowe, Collins and Specter) who are supporting the Democratic plan, “literally, a couple of the stupidest, most traitorous Republians.”

Then Coulter displayed her money mojo. “The government doesn't do anything,” Coulter said. “It doesn't make money.”

While the government may not make money directly, it can and does help the private sector make money in various ways: It could be via the building of a road or transit system that facilitates a workforce and commerce, or even a housing developer; it could be via a public library which helps job applicants search for and apply for jobs on the internet; it could be a parks department that enhances the value of nearby real estate, provides a venue for farmers' markets or performing arts festivals, etc. that directly benefit local merchants and entrepreneurs. Whether or not this stimulus package would help the private sector make money or whether or not it's the best way to stimulate the economy can be debated. The assertion that government "does nothing" and does nothing to help make money is false, simplistic and puerile.

Next, Coulter revealed her grasp of international economics – by repeating a false conservative talking point: “Japan tried it and if the Japanese can't pull it off...” She switched gears to add this patriotic thought, “As Charles Murray has pointed out, they DO have higher IQ's. If they can't pull off this kind of spending your way into an economic recovery, then we certainly can't.”

As Media Matters documented about Japan in the 90's,

According to prominent economists, economic conditions were improving in Japan before the Japanese government temporarily abandoned fiscal stimulus policies in an attempt to reduce the deficit. And (Paul) Krugman, for one, points to Japan's fiscal stimulus packages as having "probably prevented a weak economy from plunging into an actual depression."
Additionally, Adam Posen, deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics... testified before the U.S. House of Representatives that the Japanese government "way overstated the amount of fiscal stimulus in which they actually engaged." Other economists and media accounts of Japan's policies agree with Posen that the positive effects of the mid-decade stimulus packages in Japan were curtailed by attempts to scale back spending and increase taxes.

Then “economist” Coulter added another falsehood. “Most recessions last 18 months. We would be out of this in another six months if the government did nothing. This is going to wreck America.”

Hannity jumped in to add the dubious claim that the Congressional Budget Office analysis said, “we would get out of it, that this is going to make things worse in the long run.”

What neither of them mentioned is that CBO director Douglas Elmendorf testified otherwise. As Media Matters reported, on January 27, Elmendorf testified in Congress, “Because most periods of economic weakness are fairly short-lived, it is generally preferable that stimulus policies be short-lived. Currently, however, CBO projects that economic output will remain significantly below its potential for several more years, so policies that provide stimulus for an extended period of time may be appropriate. Indeed, a fiscal stimulus that ends before the economy has started to regain its footing runs the risk of exacerbating economic weakness when the stimulus ends.”

Let's see, FOX has previously called on Coulter as a global warming expert and an expert on tasteful remarks. I wonder what her next gig will be.
National security? Afghanistan expert? The Gaza conflict? Obviously, the sky's the limit for her.