The Locker Room

National Review addresses the ‘coked-up stimulus monkeys’

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

Wake Forest University’s most famous simians inspire the following commentary in the latest National Review:
John Maynard Keynes famously wrote that any sort of spending — even paying people to dig holes in the ground — “will increase … the real national dividend of useful goods and services.” But could he have imagined that giving coke to monkeys, tracing the historic roots of dog domestication, or sending scientists to the Indian Ocean to collect ants would be considered good ways to stimulate America’s economy? All these and more are on a long list of questionable projects that were funded by last year’s $862 billion stimulus bill, and all have ostensibly beneficial purposes: The first study, for example, is meant to find out how cocaine affects monkeys’ behavior (though since they already spend all their time chattering excitedly, it’s not clear how anyone can tell). Unfortunately, official estimates say the cocaine project created less than one-half of a job, and the vaunted multiplier effect must be small, as the monkeys are unlikely to buy anything with their grant money except more cocaine. To be sure, it is easy to make scholarly research sound silly, and studying coke-snorting monkeys may be scientifically valuable. But only Barack Obama, and possibly J.M. Keynes, would suggest that it stimulates the economy.

Though he says nothing about monkeys or cocaine, Roy Cordato tells us in the video clip below why politicians tend to like Keynesian ideas about stimulating the economy.

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