Friday, January 23, 2009

Just Exactly What Will the Stimulus Package Stimulate?

When the idea of an Obama economic stimulus package was first being floated, I actually thought it a good idea. Word was there would be a lot of infrastructure spending, and I especially liked that. Our nation’s infrastructure could use some shoring up, and accelerating that in order to help the economy kills two birds with one stone. That would be both smart policy and smart politics.

But now it appears only a relatively small slice of the package will go to infrastructure. Instead hundreds of billions will go to liberal wishlists that have darn little to do with the economy.

I love how House Republican Leader John Boehner summed it up this morning:

How do you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives, how does that stimulate the economy?

And the same could be said, in less colorful language, about increased funding for the arts, for public television, for various welfare programs, for “health”, for “education” (as if the huge increase in federal spending for education in recent decades has done any good).

Others who once were well-disposed toward a stimulus package, such as David Brooks and some Democrats, also don’t like what is emerging.

Really, if one were cynical, one would think liberals are just using the economic crisis as a pretense to get a lot of money thrown at their favorite pet causes. . . .

Yes. I am cynical.

As for Obama, he has the political capital to put a stop to this and get an adult, responsible package passed. Let’s hope he will.

“Hope.” Yeah.

MORE: Remember all that talk from Obama about a “new politics” beyond partisanship, etc. etc.? It was just talk:

During a morning meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, President Obama acknowledged the philosophical differences between his stimulus package and the Republican plan – but, sources familiar with the conversation said, Obama then noted: “I won.”…

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