A Second Stimulus would be Politics not Policy

10 Nov

The first stimulus package was too big and with an incorrect target. The size and breath of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA or commonly known as Federal Stimulus) was massive, unwieldy for states to coordinate, and most important hasn’t really had any true effect yet.

This is why there is a new movement among liberal elements of academia, other analysts and politicians for a second stimulus bill. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote in an op ed yesterday, “The bad employment report for June made it clear that the stimulus was, indeed, too small.” Such a statement is a fair representation of evidence that second stimulus proponent’s offer, and as a Nobel Prize winning economist, Krugman certainly qualifies his remarks. But it has only been five months since the stimulus was signed by the President, give it some time to work.

Only a small portion of the ARRA money has even been dispensed, let alone been in the economic machine long enough to have produced real stimulus. Of the nearly $787 billion that ARRA calls for, only $86 billion is earmarked for this fiscal year (although the administration has said it has spent $99 billion so far) and that money is still being processed through local channels and has not had real impact as of yet. So is the call for a second stimulus good policy or good politics?

There is little doubt that the success of the Obama administration rests on the economy. With the economy not turning around fast enough for the instant gratification public, the political forces at work fear a Republican comeback in the midterm elections. Political turnaround is rarely at the helm of inspired statesmen, rather it is the through the failures of those in charge that the minority party can find itself the majority party.

If the economy turns around, for any reason, the President and his party can claim ownership and will score a second term of dominant governance. But if the economy does not rebound in time, the door will be left open for Republicans to wonder haplessly through.

The true measure of ARRA’s effectiveness will not be known for several more months, if not years. The calls for a second stimulus bill may be warranted, but why don’t we let the first stimulus work on the economy? Before we saddle future generations with more and more debt.

The Thunder Awards

Winner of the Week: Sarah Palin, for somehow beating out Michael Jackson for the Time magazine cover. This is a woman who still sits atop of the list of potential Republican Presidential nominees, despite having resigned her role as Governor without completing the first term. She has no marketable executive experience and yet she’s a political star and has successfully dominated the weeks media cycle. I’m assuming that’s what she wanted to do, although I’m not really sure what she’s doing anymore.

Loser of the Week: John Ensign, for having his parents pay $96,000 to keep his mistress quiet.

Weasel of the Week: The seven Democratic members of the House Intelligence committee, for their public call, via a leaked letter, for CIA Director Leon Panetta to, “revise a statement he made in May to CIA employees that it was not CIA policy or practice to mislead Congress.” It is this kind of public maneuvering that has helped make the CIA an ineffective agency, and burdened what should be an agency of national defense into a political quagmire telling administrations and legislatures what they want to hear, rather than what is the truth.


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