Archive for the ‘Stimulus’ Category

About the idea that Obama’s spending has been tame

You’ve heard of lies, damned lies, and statistics? Well, here’s Exhibit A: a column at MarketWatch by Rex Nutting.

Nutting’s column, titled “Obama spending binge never happened,” has caused a lot of excitement among people who would like to believe it’s true. And the bottom-line numbers — which are as far as Nutting goes in his column — do show that total spending has risen more slowly between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2013 than you might have otherwise believed. Annual federal spending growth during President Obama’s first term, Nutting’s numbers show, has been 1.4 percent. That would be slower than in any of the seven previous terms, dating to the beginning of the Reagan years. Going out of his way to be even-handed, Nutting even graciously attributes Obama’s “stimulus” spending in FY09 to Obama rather than to George W. Bush, under whom that fiscal year began.

What a guy!

But what Nutting’s surface-level “analysis” fails to acknowledge — aside from the fact that he’s giving …

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Harry Reid: Hey, bureaucrats are the ones hurting (video)

Sharron Angle giveth, Sharron Angle taketh away. On the one hand, the Nevada Republican’s awful campaign last year against incumbent Harry Reid helped Democrats avoid an embarrassing electoral defeat and maintain their majority in the Senate. On the other, keeping Reid in office means Republicans still have someone to practically write the campaign ads for them.

Here’s Reid on the Senate floor Wednesday, explaining that the private sector is in fine shape — it’s the public sector that’s hurting during the Obama Recovery:

Via Jeff Emanuel at RedState, who notes that the federal government’s unemployment statistics prove the exact opposite — the unemployment rate for government workers last month was in fact the lowest for any sector. Just as it was a year ago.

Folks, there is nothing wrong with the economy that Democratic leaders think government — more spending, more regulation and now more hiring — can’t fix. Just ask them.

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow …

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After bipartisan rejection of Obama’s latest stimulus, what’s next?

Look on the bright side, Mr. President: At least this time the defeat wasn’t 97-0.

From the Hill:

President Obama received a slap from members of his own party Tuesday as the Senate voted 50-49 to block his $447 billion jobs package.

The jobs plan, which the president has spent much of the last month touting on a cross-country tour, fell well short of the 60 votes it needed to proceed.

The only Democrats to vote against the measure were Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), but a number of other centrists in the party indicated they would vote against the package even though they supported launching a debate on the measure.

So, President Obama’s latest stimulus couldn’t even win the support of all Senate Democrats. But don’t worry: The White House no doubt will pin the blame on “obstructionist Republicans.” How inconvenient for them that the GOP-led House didn’t vote it down first.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the political theater of Obama proposing a bill designed …

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On Fannie Mae and the failure of our elites

David Brooks has an important column today about Fannie Mae, and what he calls “the most important political scandal since Watergate”:

It helped sink the American economy. It has cost taxpayers about $153 billion, so far. It indicts patterns of behavior that are considered normal and respectable in Washington.

The column is pegged to the new book “Reckless Endangerment” by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, which details causes of the financial crash including, but not limited to, Fannie Mae. Much has been said about the failings of the government-sponsored enterprise, on this blog and elsewhere. But Morgenson and Rosner, and in turn Brooks, add much more about how Fannie Mae came to be so untouchable in Washington. As Brooks summarizes it:

Fannie Mae co-opted relevant activist groups…. Fannie ginned up Astroturf lobbying campaigns….

Fannie lavished campaign contributions on members of Congress. Time and again experts would go before some Congressional committee to warn …

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Obama gives a speech we can’t take seriously

How do you take seriously a speech in which the president says we will spend more money on educating students, rebuilding our infrastructure and funding research for innovation in alternative energy sources — all while saying we’re not going to spend more money?

How do you take seriously a speech in which the only budgetary dollar figure the president gives is a made-up one — a reduction in spending (even as spending is frozen, remember) as compared only to hypothetical future budgets?

How do you take seriously a speech in which the president claims the mantle of fiscal restraint — while essentially bidding to make permanent the supposedly temporary, stimulus-inflated levels of spending we’ve seen the last two years?

How do you take seriously a speech in which the president says he will work more closely with Republicans — by making the same offers he has made, but not acted on, in previous speeches? (Examples: “If you have ideas about how to improve [the health-reform] law…I …

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Obama’s stimulus produces temp-jobs ‘recovery’

So says economist John Lott, writing at

Our current “recovery” might be in its seventeenth month, but the few new private sector jobs have come from companies temporarily hiring staff on a contract basis. What were once jobs reserved for people hired to cover seasonal demand or permanent employees on sick leave have become the standard employment for many workers. Companies simply don’t want the risk of hiring workers that they might soon have to get rid of.

Since the recovery started in June 2009, the total number of private sector jobs has increased by 203,000 [link fixed at 1:11 p.m.]. But these weren’t “regular,” permanent jobs. Indeed, permanent private sector jobs fell by 257,000.

“Temporary help service” jobs is what made up the difference, as they increased by 460,000. For all sectors of the economy, including government jobs, the drop in the number of permanent jobs during the recovery was even worse — a drop of 561,000.

The trend has recently been …

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Guess what? Yours truly has a ‘green job’

Let’s see: I was hired by the AJC a few months after the stimulus was signed into law, and I’m a journalist. According to the Obama administration, that means I have a “green job”!

Back in June, I linked to a story on a senator’s skepticism about stimulus money and “green job” creation. Here’s an update, courtesy of the Washington Examiner’s Byron York:

Are you a financial adviser? You may not know it, but you’ve got a green job. Are you a wholesale buyer? You’ve got a green job, too. Or maybe you’re a newspaper reporter. You, too, have a green job — at least according to the Obama administration.

For months, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has been pushing the administration to substantiate its claims of having created nearly 200,000 green jobs. More fundamentally, Grassley has asked Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to state clearly what a green job is. So far, he hasn’t gotten an answer.

Now, Grassley has learned that, in lieu of a settling on a straightforward definition of a …

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A GOP 2012 dark horse’s ‘emergency economic reform’

Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, is on a short list of possible Republican contenders in 2012 who intrigue me. His fiscal record as a two-term governor is very impressive, giving him the track record as an executive to take on a sitting president. (I call him a “dark horse” in the headline only because he typically isn’t among the most-discussed and -polled group of potential candidates: Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, et al.)

So, I was interested to read, in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required), his proposal for an “emergency economic reform.”

It does not constitute a long-term plan, and it certainly wouldn’t work as a platform for his own presidential run. If the economy is still in “emergency” condition two years from now, these policies would most likely be insufficient.

But as a contribution ahead of mid-term elections in which his party stands to pick up dozens of seats? I think it beats a plan to spend $50 billion on …

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Jobs forecast not the only ‘dumb’ thing about stimulus (video)

Agreeing with Barney Frank twice in two months? Don’t worry, the Massachusetts Democrat wasn’t right about everything in his interview with Fox Business Network yesterday. But he did finally acknowledge what has been obvious to everyone outside the Democratic Party for some time now (starting at the 3:37 mark):

Here’s a transcript of the relevant part of the exchange:

President Obama, whom I greatly admire … here’s the mistake he made. When the economic recovery bill — we’re supposed to call it the recovery bill, not the stimulus bill; that’s what the focus-group people tell us — with the economic recovery bill, he predicted, or his aides predicted at the time, that if it passed, unemployment would get below 8 percent. That was a dumb thing to do. In the first place, nobody knows. In the second place, what they should have said is, if we pass it, it’ll be better than if we don’t pass it. (emphasis added)

But what about the supposed reliability of the Keynesian …

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‘It’s the checking account versus the credit card’

That’s a good line about federal spending, and it comes courtesy of Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) in the debate over extending unemployment insurance. From a Politico report:

Just two Republicans, Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, joined in support of an estimated $34 billion bill to extend benefits through November. Early hopes of getting help from Sen. Scott Brown were dashed Wednesday when the Massachusetts Republican went to the Senate floor with his own alternative — heavily reliant on cutting unspent funds from last year’s giant recovery act.


“It is beyond disappointing that Republicans continue to stand almost lockstep against assistance for out-of-work Americans,” [Majority Leader Harry] Reid said, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) countered that he was prepared to fully fund two months of assistance — paid for from spending cuts. “The only reason the unemployment extension hasn’t passed is because our friends on the other side simply refuse …

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