The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Why Obama’s Wrong

(My first foray into the world of economics. Because people accuse Republicans/conservatives of not having solutions, tomorrow I’ll present some.)

Today, President Obama has an op-ed in the Washington Post that makes his case for quickly passing the stimulus bill currently in the Senate. Some excerpts:

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We’ve seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker — and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay. They’re patient enough to know that our economic recovery will be measured in years, not months. But they have no patience for the same old partisan gridlock that stands in the way of action while our economy continues to slide.

This is reminiscent of some of then-Senator Obama’s speeches on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, the House version of the bill does not match the goals the president outlines.

Creating three million jobs over the next two years is a noble and admirable goal. However, why not look into ways to create those jobs within the next 6-12 months, if there is as serious a need for “swift” action as Obama suggests?

The President goes on to claim that his plan is a strategy for not only short term spending but long-term growth as well; again, seeming to contradict the true urgency that Obama wants to attach to the bill. In fact, a majority of the line items in the House version of the bill are spending items that will not effect any long term job or economic growth.

President Obama claims that the implementation of his bill will be an effort of “unprecedented transparency.” Yet, to date, no official version of the bill is available on the White House-created site. The site currently says:


Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that the bill will be tracked online for all to see. But wouldn’t true transparency result from putting both of the bills-the House and Senate versions-on this site now, so the American people can see what’s being debated? As the Weekly Standard recently pointed out, after the bill is passed, it’s law. The period of debate-where transparency would be the most beneficial-is over.

The “actions Americans expect us to take without delay,” as listed in the op-ed, are:

“…protect[ing] health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years…”

“…sav[ing] billions by making 2 million homes and 75 percent of federal buildings more energy-efficient, and to double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy within three years.”

“…giv[ing] our children every advantage they need to compete by upgrading 10,000 schools with state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries and labs; by training our teachers in math and science; and by bringing the dream of a college education within reach for millions of Americans.”

“…creat[ing] the jobs that remake America for the 21st century by rebuilding aging roads, bridges and levees; designing a smart electrical grid; and connecting every corner of the country to the information superhighway.”

While these are all tasks that need to be accomplished, they are not tasks of a “swift (or) bold” nature that can-or should-be used to stimulate a recessing economy.




Written by Coby Dillard

February 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm

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