Posted on February 17, 2010Spinning the stimulus is one of those Washington parlor games that infuriates people outside the beltway.
The President said it is the best thing since sliced bread. The Republicans say it was the worst thing since the invention of arsenic. And most Americans are wondering what is up with these stupid politicians.
No wonder there is a tea-party movement.
The Hill today had a story about how Nancy Pelosi is “betting the House” on the stimulus, essentially saying that her stimulus was so good, that Democrats deserve to be re-elected.
That is pretty thin gruel from which to win reelection.
The outlook from economists and from the people is pretty dour when it comes to the real impact of the stimulus.
I was trading emails with my friend Doug Holtz-Eakin and he pointed out if you give credit for all the stimulus spending (which so far is about $260 billion), the amount of gross domestic product is about $268 billion. In other words, money down a rat-hole.
As Doug also points out, most of the stimulus won’t actually be spent until 2011 and 2012, which means it really wasn’t a stimulus at all, but in reality just an increase in the budget baseline, from which the Obama Administration can pad the government payroll for years to come.
And the latest polls show that the President’s stimulus isn’t very popular with the people either. Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released last month say they oppose the stimulus package, with 42 percent supporting it.
The biggest problem with the economy is uncertainty about the future. Business doesn’t know what the Obama Administration is up to. Will they raise taxes on banks and cause them to slow lending to small businesses? Will they increase EPA regulations to hit some suspect global warming targets and raise prices on energy? Will they raise taxes on the rich and the poor? Will they succeed in having the government take-over the health care industry? Will they give a lot more power to labor unions, who have already successfully killed the American auto-industry and ruined education in this country? How will they pay-off their trial lawyer friends?
There is no business certainty, because the Obama Administration is just about all over the place on just about everything. And they are largely unable to get the Congress to do anything, chiefly because they have both too many votes and not enough votes.
Republicans have to be careful to not root against the stimulus though. While they voted against it and they don’t like how it has been a disaster, they can’t get into a “I told you so,” position. They have to be positive about what they want to do, without being overly negative about what the Democrats have already done.
Most voters don’t want to see politicians rooting against anything called a “jobs bill.” Most voters who are out of work also don’t want to hear grand theories about macro-economics. They want practical policies that will create real jobs.
The Democrats haven't done that and that is why they are in big trouble in the coming election.