This is a good example for people outside economics (and quite a few inside) who think all economists line up on an easy right-left divide. If you expected Sachs to support the standard Keynesian consensus because he's "liberal," or to use his words, in favor of "progressive economics," you would be wrong. He looks at the facts, the forecasts, and the Krugman's curious rewriting of history in a "victory lap," and comes to his own conclusions.
Needless to say, I'm happy to find someone else making many of the basic points in my
Autopsy for Keynesian Economics (ungated version). I'm even more happy that someone of a "progressive" political orientation comes to the same conclusions that I do from a more libertarian orientation. I'll be curious to see if Sachs comes in for the same sort of venomous personal attacks -- with essentially no attempt to argue the content -- as my piece attracted from the politicized lefty economics blogosphere. Do they treat "friends" more nicely, or "traitors" more harshly? We'll see.
On infrastructure, Sachs writes
To be clear, I believe that we do need more government spending as a share of GDP – for education, infrastructure, low-carbon energy, research and development, and family benefits for low-income families. But we should pay for this through higher taxes on high incomes and high net worth, a carbon tax, and future tolls collected on new infrastructure. We need the liberal conscience, but without the chronic budget deficits.Here too, we can almost agree. We can agree on the principle that infrastructure spending is important, and should be evaluated on the basis whether its benefits exceed its costs, not on the "stimulative" powers of its spending. Then we can go back to evaluating whether all of these particular investments have benefits greater than costs, and whether those particular taxes merit their distortions.