Economics

Stimulus Rhetoric Déjà Vu

Yesterday, President Obama again pushed for passage of his jobs bill, striking a note of urgency and frustration when he warned, “Any senator out there who’s thinking about voting against this jobs bill needs to explain exactly why they would oppose something that we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time.”

Lest anyone should mistakenly think that this is the first time the president has tried this “know would improve, must act now” tack, rewind to February 2009, when Obama was pushing his first stimulus bill. Then, he argued that the “time for action is now, because we know that if we do not act, a bad situation will become dramatically worse …  It’s what America needs right now, and we need to move forward today.”

As I’ve written about before, the 2009 stimulus bill faltered coming out of the gate and even today many of the dollars from that bill are still unspent, including $15 billion for the Department of Energy, $16 billion for the Department of Transportation, and $11 billion for the Department of Education. So when the president repeats the same rhetoric of urgency to push his new stimulus bill, (which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, includes $175 billion in more spending), lawmakers may want to first evaluate the effectiveness of his last stimulus bill.

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