Obama Wants More “Stimulus” Spending Now, Deficit Cutting Later

WASHINGTON - JUNE 23: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House June 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama has named Gen. David Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as top commander of the U.S. Force in Afghanistan, after an article quoting Gen. McChrystal disparaging the Obama Administration was published in Rolling Stone magazine. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

But Democrats in general are getting nervous about passing more stimulus spending.

A tide has turned on Capitol Hill. A Democratic Congress that once passed a $787-billion stimulus bill, the largest in history, is now haggling over $25 to struggling families. The recovery is tepid — with unemployment stuck at almost 10% nationwide and much higher in some places ( California is at 12.4% and Nevada at 14%) — but the hot issue in Washington has shifted from job creation to getting the federal deficit under control.

Even liberal Democrats agree that the federal government needs to bring the deficit under control. The argument is over how soon to start doing it. Is the recovery strong enough that we can stop spending borrowed money to stimulate faster growth? Is the deficit growing so fast that we need to rein in spending now to avoid a fiscal crisis later?

President Obama and his chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, have offered a sensible answer: Spend more on stimulus now, but make a clear commitment to deficit reduction later.

And many economists agree. “Long-term deficit reduction is necessary, but it isn’t something that needs to happen right now,” said Bruce Bartlett, a former economic aide in the Ronald Reagan and George Bush administrations. “There’s still a strong case for additional stimulus.” The ideal course, Bartlett said, would be to pass a stimulus bill — plus a binding commitment to cut the deficit later.

But that’s economics, not politics. And when it comes to politics, Obama and the Democrats are on the defensive — which is why their bill has had such an uphill climb.

That’s economics, but not politics? Even based on economics, by what measure can we possibly say that the “stimulus” spending has worked? Our jobs situation is not improved, and there’s no sign of significant improvement anywhere on the horizon. Things are stagnating, at best, and we’re facing the very real possibility of a double-dip recession if our federal budget doesn’t get under control that could plunge us to new lows of recession.

We can’t afford more “stimulus” spending, which is just as well, because the “stimulus” spending we’ve done to date hasn’t worked.

It’s failed policy, but as with most government program failure is apparently just an excuse to throw more money at it.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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