"When the history of the current crisis is written, much of the blame will be placed on the sharp fiscal contraction of state and local governments," said Bruce Bartlett, an economist who worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and for free-market champion Jack Kemp. Budget shortfalls have forced states to cut spending and raise taxes, both of which take money out of the economy. Ezra Klein, an economics reporter for the Washington Post, said the state budget shortfalls "are the equivalent of a massive anti-stimulus, which some experts believe has overwhelmed the $787 billion stimulus passed by the federal government in 2009."
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