Friday, February 19, 2010


It's the "stimulus bill," dummy

On Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the signing of the stimulus bill, Obama held a press event in the Executive Office Building to praise the success of the legislation. Portions of it were widely reported in the MSM, especially this section

I want to begin by recalling where we were one year ago.  Millions of jobs had already been lost to the recession before I was sworn into office.  Another 800,000 would be lost in the month of January.  We'd later learn that our economy had shrunk by an astounding 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009.  And economists from across the political spectrum warned that if dramatic action was not taken to break the back of the recession, the United States could spiral into another depression. 

One year later, it is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second depression is no longer a possibility.  It's one of the main reasons the economy has gone from shrinking by 6 percent to growing at about 6 percent.  And this morning we learned that manufacturing production posted a strong gain.  So far, the Recovery Act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed.  These aren't just our numbers; these are the estimates of independent, nonpartisan economists across the spectrum.

Now, despite all this, the bill still generates some controversy.  And part of that is because there are those, let's face it, across the aisle who have tried to score political points by attacking what we did, even as many of them show up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their districts.  (Laughter and applause.) But if we're honest, part of the controversy also is, is that despite the extraordinary work that has been done through the Recovery Act, millions of Americans are still without jobs.  Millions more are struggling to make ends meet.  So it doesn't yet feel like much of a recovery.  And I understand that.  It's why we're going to continue to do everything in our power to turn this economy around.

Obama was introduced by Vice President Biden, who of course also praised the bill. Would you believe that neither used the word "stimulus" or the phrase "stimulus bill"? Not once! Instead they talked about the "Recovery Act."

At least one speechwriter needs to be fired. Haven't they heard that Americans are confusing the stimulus bill with the financial bailouts, and that the mere thought of the bailouts gets them hopping-mad (even to the point of flying a plane into government offices1)? And don't they know that a sentence such as "economists from across the political spectrum warned that if dramatic action was not taken to break the back of the recession, the United States could spiral into another depression" can easily be taken to refer to the bailouts?

Jeesh! Republican PR guys will do anything for money.  Can't the Obama administration hire one of them?

Related post
A note on Obama (2/15/10)



1Although suicide pilot Joseph Stack's principal complaint was against the IRS, he also wrote this—

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?

And this—

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.


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