...to John McCain during the 2008 election. Today, when asked about the stimulus package, Zandi responded (my emphasis):
"I think we'd be in a measurably worse place if not for the stimulus," Zandi said at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast this morning. "If we had not had the stimulus...we'd have fewer jobs today than we actually have."
"Without the stimulus spending," Zandi insisted, "instead of a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, we'd have an 11.5 percent unemployment rate."
"I think that, in totality, the policy response [from Geithner and Summers] has been excellent. That it was very aggressive and ultimately very successful, so I give them high marks. Any individual aspect of the policy response one could debate... broadly speaking I think it was very effective."
Zandi took particular issue with the size of the stimulus. He says it should have been larger, with more money dedicated to tax incentives to small businesses and less to infrastructure spending. More infrastructure spending, he said, "would have enormous productivity benefits," but is necessarily stimulative in the near-term.
"I would have made it larger," Zandi said. "I think we underestimated -- significantly underestimated -- the severity of the situation that we were in and still are in. And that that would have argued for a larger stimulus package."