Politics Over Policy

As I noted earlier this evening, the American public is showing virtually no confidence in the economic measures that have been implemented or advocated by the Obama administration. In today’s Washington Post, Robert Samuelson reminded us why that is so: the “stimulus” bill had little to do with the economy, and a great deal to do with Democratic Party politics:

Judged by his own standards, President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus program is deeply disappointing. For weeks, Obama has described the economy in grim terms. … Given these dire warnings, you’d expect the stimulus package to focus almost exclusively on reviving the economy. It doesn’t, and for that, Obama bears much of the blame.

His politics compromise the program’s economics. Look at the numbers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that about $200 billion will be spent in 2011 or later — after it would do the most good. …

Big projects take time. They’re included in the stimulus because Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are using the legislation to advance many political priorities instead of just spurring the economy. …

No one knows the economic effects of all this; estimates vary. But Obama’s political strategy stunts the impact from what it might have been.

Putting politics over the economy in a time of national emergency: that’s a pretty serious indictment. But no one who is familiar with what is in the Democrats’ porkfest bill doubts that it is true.

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