So, let’s see. In 2009 President Obama asked for and got a pork fiesta $787 billion stimulus package from Congress, saying we needed it to keep unemployment from rising above 8% and to put America back to work.
So, when faced with the utter failure of Keynesian stimulus spending to stimulate anything other than the national debt, what’s a Lightworker President to do? Cut taxes? Cut spending? Ease the burden of regulation on small businesses? Allow a free market economy to do what it does best?
Dudes, don’t be silly.
The answer is obviously to spend more:
President Obama, looking for ways to jump-start the sagging economy and create new jobs, called on Congress on Monday to approve a far-reaching plan to rebuild and modernize the nation’s transportation networks — roads, rail and airport runways — over the next six years.
With Democrats facing increasingly bleak re-election prospects, Mr. Obama used a Labor Day visit to a union festival here to lay out the plan, which the White House says could begin creating jobs as early as 2011 if Congress moves quickly. But prospects for a hasty passage seem unlikely, given that lawmakers have only a few weeks before they go home to campaign and Republicans have little interest in giving Democrats any pre-election legislative victories.
“Over the next six years,” Mr. Obama promised “we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads — that’s enough to circle the world six times; that’s a lot of road. We’re going to lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways — enough to stretch coast-to-coast. We’re going to restore 150 miles of runways and advance a next-generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays for American travelers — I think everybody can agree on that.”
Mr. Obama vowed that the plan, which would include work on high-speed rail lines, would be “fully paid for” and not add to the deficit.
Gee, where have we heard that last one before?
Setting aside my complete lack of faith that this Congress and administration could spend the requested money wisely (based on their performance so far) and ignoring the consequences of adding to our staggering debt (Oh, heck. What’s another $50 billion among friends?), the proposal for a smaller, more tightly focused and controlled stimulus package is about 18 months too late:
While President Barack Obama goes on the road to shore up slipping popular support for the $1 trillion stimulus porkfest that he ordered up from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Walt Minnick, a freshman Democrat from Idaho, is pushing a better idea: The Strategic Targeted American Recovery and Transition Act (START).
Minnick is a member of the Blue Dog caucus of occasionally conservative Democcrats. His START plan is a $170 billion “bare bones” pure stimulus approach that would put $100 billion immediately into the pockets of low- and middle-income Americans, then use the other $70 billion for basic infrastructure projects that create jobs. START requires that all funds not spent by 2010 be returned to the Treasury. START also stops stimulus spending when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product increases in two of three previous quarters, and all START payments are required to be posted on a public website.
While I’m opposed to Keynesian stimulus in general, and I think the record of history bears out its ineffectiveness, I could have supported the Minnick proposal as a reasonable compromise. To hear Obama come out with something similar only after all the damage his first stimulus has done calls for one response:
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)