The decision by Obama and Democratic congressional leaders to load the stimulus with so many partisan projects is politically shrewd and economically suspect. The president’s claims of bipartisanship were mostly a sham, as he skillfully maneuvered Republicans into a no-win position: Either support a Democratic program, or oppose it — and seem passive and uncaring.
But the result is that the stimulus, as an act of economic policy, is hobbled. A package so large can be defended only because the economy is so weak — and seems to be getting weaker by the moment. The central purpose is simple: halt downward momentum. Perhaps some of the out-year spending might ultimately prove useful. But the immediate need is for the stimulus package to stimulate — now. It needs to be front-loaded; it isn’t.
Obama’s political strategy fails to address adequately the economy’s present needs while also worsening the long-term budget outlook. Some of his “temporary” spending increases in practice will almost certainly become permanent. There were tough choices to be made — and Obama ducked them.
So not only is the “stimulus” bill stuffed with pork, it will fail to improve the economy in the short term and will make things worse in the long term.
I know the Democrats are excited about reliving the New Deal glory years but do they have to drive us into a depression again while they’re at it?