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Tyler Cowen and Noah Smith

Debating Government's Role in Boosting Growth: Cowen and Smith

Fiscal stimulus can work. The trick is knowing when distortions offset the gains.
Not your ideal job candidates.

Not your ideal job candidates.

Photographer: Philip Sowels/Future publishing/getty images

It is a point of endless debate among policy makers, economists and politicians: Does government have the ability to get more growth out of the economy and increase employment -- and if it does, what government programs do the job best while costing the least? We asked Bloomberg View columnists and economists Tyler Cowen and Noah Smith to meet online and debate the matter.

Cowen: My view is pretty simple: at this point the economy is fairly close to full employment and the momentum is positive. So right now I don't see a significant role for demand-side arguments for government stimulus. To be sure, there are plenty of projects that can be defended on their own merits, such as road maintenance. But the economy is essentially over the negative demand shocks from the 2008-2009 period.