Romer answers the question in her title: "Absolutely." And despite the reference to "five months" in the subtitle, her focus is on the second quarter of 2009 (April, May, and June) and her claim is that the stimulus had a dramatic effect on output and employment during that quarter. I do not think her analysis is responsible, and I am concerned with the fact that academic economists, when they become either public officials or public intellectuals (like Paul Krugman), leave behind their academic scruples.
Did he even read Romer’s analysis before attaching her? Yes, the stimulus kept output from falling even further. In fact, check this out from Posner:
Let me make clear at the outset that I support the stimulus, though I wish it had been better designed. I support it for two reasons. The first is that, given the state of panic of the economy last winter, and the limited efficacy of the measures already taken to arrest the economic plunge
That’s right boys and girls – Posner recognizes that the economy was in a free fall. But it appears (just maybe) that the free fall has stopped. Isn’t that what Dr. Romer said? So how is this intellectually dishonest?
Update: Brad DeLong has a number of suggestions for Mr. Posner including actually reading what Dr. Romer wrote on this topic.