Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big Spender?

The media is trumpeting about how Obama is going to propose in September a “jobs bill” that will promote the creation of a real and large number of jobs, implying that it will be “stimulus” under another name and that it will be big. It will be coupled with an extension of unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cuts and deficit reduction, and he will pretty much “dare” the Republicans to reject it.

It won’t be called a “stimulus” because we already had one of those, and all that we remember about it was that it was a lengthy argument in Washington which resulted in nothing other than some signs on the highways which we are all driving too fast to read. It wasn’t the wrong thing to do, it was just botched so badly that it gave a bad reputation to a good policy.

Anyway, I’ll believe it when I see it, for a number of reasons, the main one being that it will require him to be bold and aggressive, and he has never shown the slightest sign in either campaign or governing mode that he has any remote capacity for that. Besides which, he is still talking about the idea that we don’t need anything major, that our problems can be solved with “small adjustments” to our government. He is a lot more concerned with not upsetting anyone, with “bipartisanship” and “getting along together” than he is with solving problems.

We need a new title for him, perhaps “Psychotherapist in Chief.”

He was interviewed on CBS News last night, a segment which they do not report or show on their website, discussing with CBS while on his bus tour, and he says that our government issues can be fixed with “minor adjustments.” He uses that term and even says specifically that we do not need to make major changes.

Who does he think he is kidding? A full 40% of what we spend is borrowed money, and we can fix that with minor changes? And this is the man who is going to come out next month with a big, bold spending plan to create millions of new jobs?

He’s going to talk about spending big for new jobs and reducing the deficit all in the same speech, and make us believe him. How is he going to phrase that? Spend big, cut taxes and increase the deficit until after he’s reelected, and then cut spending and raise taxes, perhaps? Even the American voter is not that stupid.

I’m not entirely convinced that spending to create jobs has any long term economic benefits, but it certainly has short term benefit and I won’t argue if that’s what we want to do. In that case, make the argument for doing the spending and don’t talk about the damned deficit until after you want to quit that spending. You are telling the public to go in two directions at once and you sound like an idiot.

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