No stimulus now

From an editorial Monday in the Washington Post:

You would not know it from the rhetoric of the recently completed political campaign, but the United States is in pretty good economic shape.

The unemployment rate stands at 4.6 percent of the labor force, the lowest level since August 2007, according to the Labor Department report published Friday. Inflation is running at a manageable 1.6 percent. The Dow Jones stock index stands at an all-time high of over 19,000. And hourly wages are growing at an annual rate of more than 2 percent.

President Barack Obama is handing his successor, Donald Trump, a far, far better situation than the one he inherited in January 2009.

There is no need for large-scale, short-term stimulus. The economy faces long-standing structural issues, which call for long-term structural reforms.

Trump’s top political adviser, Stephen Bannon, dreams of “a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. ... Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.”

Reckless expansion of the federal debt would use up “fiscal space” the government needs to address a true economic emergency. Under no responsible reading of the data does our current situation fit that description.