White House Invites Unions to Set Public Policy
ABC and others report that the Obama administration has invited union representatives to participate in conference calls with state and local officials, which have been held to set guidelines for how ‘stimulus’ money is spent. As first reported in the Los Angeles Times, California officials have said that representatives of the Service Employees International Union were given unprecedented access to an April 15 conference call | Read More »
Reid to Proceed With 60 Votes?
CNN’s Political Ticker reports that with Ted Kennedy apparently unavailable for a Senate vote tomorrow, Harry Reid is trying to line up one more Republican to vote for the Democrat spending bill. The concern is that without Kennedy, the bill has only the minimum number of votes required to pass: 60. And the three GOP supporters had made clear that their support was conditional on | Read More »
Who’s In Charge Here?
In the debate over the ‘stimulus,’ Barack Obama’s biggest problem is that he has not wanted to take the lead on the legislation. For weeks Congressional Democrats complained that his reluctance to set out his recommended legislation was slowing the process. When all was said and done, he never did reveal ‘his’ bill; he simply communicated his priorities to Congress and let them carry the | Read More »
The NEXT Big Infrastructure Bill
Glenn Reynolds asks a good question: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR LAST BIG “INFRASTRUCTURE” BILL? Everyone seems to have forgotten that just three years ago, in August 2005, Congress enacted the biggest federal public works program in American history, spending a massive $286.4 billion on the 2005 highway bill. At that time, President Bush and congressional leaders from both parties told us that the new highway | Read More »
Trouble in Paradise
It looks like not all Congressional Democrats are prepared to march in lockstep with Barack Obama into a brighter future: Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), who chairs the Financial Services subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, said on C-SPAN that Democrats have “lost our way” and “shouldn’t be pressed by silly deadlines” of getting the bill into law by the Presidents Day recess.
Democrat Chairman Pushes Cow Killing to Raise Milk Prices
Opponents of excess government meddling in the private market often argue that it puts government policymakers in an inherently unfair position: that of picking winners and losers. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson gives us an excellent example: he’s working to raise milk prices, leaving dairy farmers the winners while everyone who consumers dairy products winds up losing. Also winning: steak lovers, who will see | Read More »
Congressional Budget Office Slams Stimulus Plan
I referenced this yesterday in another post, but it bears repeating here: the Democratic stimulus package has already failed. That is the finding of Congress’ own budget office — the CBO — which has determined that the spending component of the bill will come far too late to help restore economic growth: Less than half the money dedicated to highways, school construction and other infrastructure | Read More »
Heath Shuler First Dem to Oppose the (De)Stimulus Bill?
It was always hard to imagine that every Democrat would march in lockstep support of a massive spending bill that stands little chance of actually doing anything to help the economy. But I would not have expected that a Blue Dog like Shuler would choose inauguration day to rain on Barack Obama’s parade: Shuler, who twice voted against the $700 billion bank rescue and the | Read More »
Obama Stimulus Consigns US to ‘Banana Republic’ Territory
The Washington Times reports: The United States will “look like a banana republic” unless it gains control over its budget deficit and federal debt, economist Allen Sinai warned Congress on Thursday. “The deficit and debt prospects under almost any scenario are daunting,” Mr. Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics Inc., told the Senate Budget Committee. “This territory is uncharted, with no real historical analogue | Read More »
Poll Shows Support for Stimulus, With Reservations
NBC news and the Wall Street Journal have completed a detailed poll of the American public, examining popular views on the risky spending scheme being considered in Congress. The headlines about the poll say things like ‘Public Backs Obama Stimulus Plan,’ and ‘Americans Strongly Back Obama and His Stimulus Plan,’ and they’re largely right. As the Journal summarizes: Overall, the poll found strong public backing | Read More »
Poll: Stimulus Package Better Have Tax Cuts
Rasmussen finds that the American people are generally favorable toward Barack Obama’s stimulus plan: Generally speaking, do you favor or oppose the economic recovery plan proposed by Barack Obama? 44% Favor 28% Oppose 27% Not sure
Schumer: Stimulus Package Will Be Bigger than Obama Wants
And so it begins: “It’s certainly true that we in Congress will have input,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer , D-N.Y., said in a Jan. 9 conference call. But, he added, “The urgency of this economic crisis . . . is going to limit any haggling over competing approaches.” Schumer predicted that Congress would complete its work by a self-imposed Feb. 13 deadline and would enact | Read More »
Congress — Not Obama — Will Craft His Agenda
Nancy Pelosi is advising Barack Obama that he ought to immediately make good on his campaign promise to raise taxes on the wealthy: Pelosi told reporters today that she “couldn’t be more clear” in opposing some Obama advisers’ wish to wait for the tax cuts on the highest income earners to expire in two years, as they are set to do under current law. “Put | Read More »
Is Obama Set to Repeat Clinton’s Big Mistake?
In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned for the presidency on a platform that focused on tax cuts (to get the economy moving again), welfare reform, and getting tough on crime. By the time he vetted his agenda with Congressional leaders, the early focus of his administration had shifted to enacting a public works package, lifting the ban on gays serving in the military, and raising taxes. | Read More »
Pelosi: We’ll Run Roughshod over Republicans
In previous years, Democrats promised to run the Congress in a bipartisan way, and they complained that George Bush stoked fears in order to squelch debate and suppress dissent. Things have really changed. This is from Pelosi’s opening speech of the new Congress (yesterday), in which the Speaker sets the tone for the two years ahead: I wonder what the punishment is for those who | Read More »
On Infrastructure Investment
Democrats argue that their stimulus proposal must include a massive infrastructure component not only because it will help the economy (which it won’t), but also because the government has been chronically underinvesting in infrastructure in recent decades. The Congressional Budget Office puts the lie to that claim. This chart is of all public capital spending on infrastructure, from 1956 to 2006:
Obama’s Clever Fiscal Stimulus Strategy
Jon Henke lays out the danger to Congressional Republicans of supporting Barack Obama’s stimulus package: Here’s the calculation on fiscal stimulus: If Obama gets his way, he’s looking at massive, trillion dollars deficits, and much more government intervention in the economy. The public may tolerate this due to fears about economic crisis, but if it works out well and the US gets a relatively soft | Read More »
On Obama’s ‘Tax Cuts,’ Read the Fine Print
There seems to be a surprisingly enthusiastic reception among Republicans and in the media to Barack Obama’s effort to broaden support for his stimulus plan: President-elect Barack Obama arrived on Capitol Hill yesterday and immediately set to work reassuring skeptical Republicans about his massive economic stimulus package — part of a campaign that earned him praise for seeking their input but questions from those averse | Read More »
Wanted: Skeptical Economists
According to the Associated Press, ‘only one outside economist contacted by Obama aides… voiced skepticism about the need for an economic stimulus.’ It turns out that that economist was Greg Mankiw (whose blog you ought to bookmark), and he advised President Bush — so his opinion is apparently of questionable value anyway. With that in mind, House Republican Leader John Boehner wants to hear from | Read More »
Obama: Billions for Pork Barrel Earmarks
Barack Obama used his weekly radio address today to promise prompt action on a massive economic stimulus package: President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday that he had started work on a sustained, two-year economic stimulus plan designed to create or save 2.5 million jobs, funnel money toward public works programs to repair the country’s failing infrastructure and invest in alternative energy programs. Mr. Obama’s plan, which | Read More »