There is a simple solution to the current political showdown in Washington over the stimulus bill – pass Obama's stimulus plan. Pres. Obama campaigned and won the election. The American people saw the policies he was proposing. With the election, they gave Obama and those policies a mandate. The only problem – Pres. Obama is no longer proposing the stimulus bill on which he campaigned and was elected.
John Lott details the shift from candidate Obama to President Obama:
At the very end of the presidential campaign Obama “proposed
a $175 billion plan with tax-rebate checks for consumers as well as
spending on school repairs, roads and bridges, aid to states, and tax
credits for job creation.”
The current bill is not only spending 4.7 times what he promised in
November, but gone are the tax-rebate checks and tax credits for job
creation. The new additional programs have nothing to do with roads and
bridges. Yet, a package that Obama never hinted at a couple of months
ago is now considered sacrosanct. The Associated Press described
Obama’s position on the stimulus plan this way: “Stopping just short of
a take-it-or-leave-it stand, Obama has mocked the notion that a
stimulus bill shouldn’t include huge spending.”
While Obama has drastically increased the size of the stimulus he is calling for, he has also taken to shifting the way he talks about pork spending and budget deficits. Even the AP calls Obama out for his changing language:
President Barack Obama had it both ways Monday when he promoted his stimulus plan in Indiana. He bragged about getting Congress to produce a package with no pork, yet boasted it will do good things for a Hoosier highway and downtown overpass, just the kind of local projects lawmakers lard into big spending bills.
The AP goes on to detail at least three claims that Obama made in his appeal which seem to be at least not the whole truth – no "earmarks" in a bill that is essentially one gigantic earmark, setting a high standard for administration appointments while having several tax "screw-ups" along with lobbyist appointments, and claiming specific job numbers when even his own economists allow for major variations in jobs created and saved (which in itself is impossible to gauge).
It seems obvious that the easiest solution to the current political conundrum is for Congress to back the plan on which Obama campaigned and was elected, even though Obama himself seems to have abandoned it.
I'm sure the Obama-supporters reading this are already seeing an obvious out for Obama in his massively increased stimulus bill – Bush left the economy in much worse shape than Obama had thought.
Lott answers that objection:
What exactly did he learn immediately after the election about the
economy that caused him to go from a budget cutter to proposing the
biggest increase in spending ever? Prior to the election, Obama was
already regularly claiming that the economy was in the worst financial
crisis since the depression. Do you cut spending when you are in the
worst financial crisis since the depression, but massively increase it
if you can claim that things have gotten a little worse?
Isn't the fundamental shift in approaches the least bit troubling? It seems to be a matter of saying something popular during an election and doing something different once in power. If that's the case, then we have already seen that Change enough.