Whatever your beliefs about the efficacy of fiscal stimulus, I think you’d have to go a bit to find an analysis of the ineffectiveness of fiscal stimulus more superficial than Arthur Laffer’s:
Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.
It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.
The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%).
There are several problems with this. First is that not only did countries with the largest spending increases show sharp declines but so did countries with among the lowest increases in spending, e.g. Germany (spending increase of 4.6%, change in real GDP -11.6%) and Sweden (spending increase of 3.8%, change in real GDP -13.6%). Or, in other words, either high increases in spending or low, both profligacy and austerity can be associated with large declines in real GDP.
More importantly isn’t it barely possible that countries in which they foresaw larger declines, depending on the political winds in those countries, engaged in more vigorous measures to address them? I.e. that the causality goes the other way around?