This is a follow-up from a post this morning here. Kevin Drum is a Keynesian who thinks that the government is committing economic suicide if it does not increase its spending substantially during and after a recession. Kevin Drum is also a fierce partisan who wants to defend President Obama against his detractors. Unfortunately, trying to do the two simultaneously has led to what I think may be an embarrassing result for him.
In the chart below, I combine two graphs of his. The one on the left is a chart from last year in a Mother Jones cover story blasting "austerity" and lamenting how dumb it was to decrease spending in the years after a recession. The chart on the right is from the other day, when Drum is agreeing with Paul Krugman that the recession recovery under Obama has been much stronger than the one under Bush II. The result is a juxtaposition that seems to undermine his Keynesian assumptions - specifically, the recession where we had the "austerity" was the one with the better recovery. The only thing I have done to his charts is removed lines in the left chart for other past recessions and changed the line colors on the two charts to match. You can click to enlarge:
The blue line is the Bush II recession, the red line is the Obama recession. I believe the start dates are consistent in both charts. All the numbers and choice of start dates and measurement scales are Drum's. Don't yell at me for something in the chart construction being unfair -- they are his choices.
The conclusion? Higher government spending seems to inhibit recovery. Thanks Kevin!