Weekend Editorial Roundup

Here are the highlights from this weekend’s editorials on fiscal and budget policy:

The Denver Post said that although they opposed a large stimulus package, they did not believe that Congress should penny pinch on the unemployed in the current economic situation. Noting the recent upward trends in unemployment claims, they believed that it was important to extend benefits in an economic climate where "even the most talented and ambitious job-seekers" cannot find a job. The Post believed that the benefits of extending unemployment benefits outweighed the costs of not paying for them.

The Kansas City Star also called for unemployment benefits to be extended, criticizing Congress for playing political games at the expense of the unemployed. They pointed out that unemployment benefits have a high multiplier effect, since recipients have to spend almost all of the money on living expenses. As with the Denver Post, they used the current state of the job market as justification for the extension of benefits.

On the news that TARP could end sooner than expected in order to pay for the financial reform legislation, The Washington Post wrote a eulogy of sorts for the program, noting that its relative economic success may be obscured by its political unpopularity. They pointed to the modest cost of $105 billion of TARP and said that "it arguably saved the U.S. economy." However, they also said that there were many "TARP martyrs": Congressional incumbents who lost their seats partially because they voted for TARP.

The New York Times praised a bill in the House that would provide states with $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs but said that the cost should not be offset by cutting $500 million from the Race to the Top program, which provides grants to states to implement school reforms. Although they said that preventing teacher layoffs was important, they thought that cutting a program that had spurred school reform plans in almost every state would be very counterproductive. They wanted Congress to find offsets elsewhere.