Economists: Stimulus Needed Now

Congress is close to passing a stimulus package worth at least $780 billion after a breakthrough in negotiations with Senate Republicans, and economists across the ideological spectrum say the vote can't come soon enough. The Washington Post reports a broad consensus has emerged that some sort of stimulus is necessary as soon as possible—even among former critics of the notion. An economist in the Bush administration, for example, said just months ago that "probably zero" dollars were needed in stimulus; he's now calling for an immediate infusion of cash, preferably through tax cuts. "Things have gotten so bad so quickly," Alan Viard said. "We have now lost 3.6 million jobs, a stunning loss. But what's more horrifying is that half that loss has occurred in the last three months. This is a severe recession. There's no doubt about it."