Frank: Obama stimulus plan too reliant on tax cuts

posted at 3:00 pm on January 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barney Frank never met a government spending program he didn’t like, at least until now.  While expressing his overall approval for the scope of Barack Obama’s stimulus proposal, Frank told NPR that it relies too much on tax cuts to stimulate the private sector and not enough on government confiscation of capital for redistribution by Washington elites.

Well, OK, he didn’t quite put it that baldly, but he came close:

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Thursday that President-elect Obama’s stimulus plan spends too much money on tax cuts for his taste.

Frank said on NPR’s “Marketplace Morning Report” that he believes the spending package Obama supports will be large enough to help the ailing economy but that he does not entirely agree with how the money will be used.

“I have some difference because I think they may be doing too much tax-cutting and not enough direct spending from the standpoint of immediate job creation,” Frank said.

Yes, well, no one would ever accuse Frank of being an economic whiz.  Taking capital out of the markets now to fund public-works projects that will take months or years to organize will not only not create jobs in the short term, it will actively damage the investment engine that will maintain the jobs we have now.  Barack Obama appears to realize this, at least dimly, while Frank just remains dim.

For an explanation of how massive public-works programs fail to increase overall employment, Heritage Foundation has a clear explanation, via Ed Driscoll:

FDR had the same idea as Frank, which was the confiscation of capital from “the rich” and redistribution through public-works programs and welfare assistance.  Not only did it not work the first time, but the second phase of the New Deal resulted in an increase in unemployment greater than the percentage of total unemployment today between 1937-8.  Only the war put America back to work, primarily because millions of men who would otherwise have been in the workforce went into the military instead.

Government-controlled capital gets used in the most inefficient manner possible.  We’re headed towards another several years of learning that lesson again.  Too bad Frank and the rest of Congress didn’t learn the lesson of intervention from the self-inflicted debacle of the housing bubble.


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What? Taking away money from people to pay for a lot of unnecessary things (and, yes, a lot of necessary things also, but you get the idea) doesn’t stimulate the spending necessary to keep private businesses alive? Color me surprised.

Snowed In on January 8, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Where’s the Inquisition when you need it to fry that pig Frank on a girdle.

Max47 on January 8, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Don’t forget this:

FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

INC on January 8, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Is there anyone in the government who ever had a private sector job and knows the pain of working your ass off and looking at your paycheck and seeing how much has been taken from you to be given to the government to waste or pass on to someone who hasn’t spent the past week working their ass off???

ctmom on January 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM

In other words, yes, it could have been worse. We could have had Frank as president instead of Obama.

I forget, what country is this?

MadisonConservative on January 8, 2009 at 3:09 PM

And don’t forget this item either:

Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint

Mr. Frank wants you to pick up the tab for its failures, while he still vows to block a reform that might prevent the same disaster from happening again.

At least the Massachusetts Democrat is consistent. His record is close to perfect as a stalwart opponent of reforming the two companies, going back more than a decade. The first concerted push to rein in Fan and Fred in Congress came as far back as 1992, and Mr. Frank was right there, standing athwart. But things really picked up this decade, and Barney was there at every turn.

The writer goes on to mention EIGHT times (if I counted correctly) in this decade when Frank was out there pushing against reform.

INC on January 8, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Where’s the Inquisition when you need it to fry that pig Frank on a girdle.

Max47 on January 8, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Yet his constituents keep voting him in!

grapeknutz on January 8, 2009 at 3:11 PM

MadisonConservative on January 8, 2009 at 3:09 PM

I would have voted for Hillary before Frank.
I would have voted for Kucinich before Frank.
Heck, I would have voted for Paris Hilton before Frank.

Snowed In on January 8, 2009 at 3:12 PM

1930 through 1932 is similar to 2006 through 2008, the economy goes from bad to worse. Before 1930 and 2006 the Republican congresses were acting like democrats light. After the democrats won the congressional elections in those two years, the economy continued to tank.

Now with the election of a democrat president in 2008, as in 1932, the things that were done to get us into those messes were/will be continued.

Even if you know nothing about economics, history should at least tell you something.

Harpoon on January 8, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Too bad Frank and the rest of Congress didn’t learn the lesson of intervention from the self-inflicted debacle of the housing bubble.

Frank and the rest don’t have to be concerned about the cause of housing bubble, remember “It’s Bush’s fault!”

Barney and Chris should be able to ride that pony for at least another 4 years with the help of the MSM.

belad on January 8, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Eh, Frank is a gay man, so I’m never as disgusted by what comes out of his mouth as what goes into it.

radjah shelduck on January 8, 2009 at 3:17 PM

That man is deeply stupid.

patriette on January 8, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Aaahhhh…..those pesky tax cuts. What happened the last time a sitting President cut taxes during a recession?

Those that have never learned history (or have a warped sense of it) will be doomed to repeat it.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on January 8, 2009 at 3:20 PM

This stimulus plan is going to go down in Congress like a flaming Nazi blimp.

Chuck Schick on January 8, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Are you ready for Protectionism 2.0?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on January 8, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Frank and the rest don’t have to be concerned about the cause of housing bubble, remember “It’s Bush’s fault!”

Barney and Chris should be able to ride that pony for at least another 4 years with the help of the MSM.

belad on January 8, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I don’t know. Even the drive-bys are starting to tire of Frank’s act. Chris Cuomo gave him a hard time the other day on Good Morning America. Imagine how much less hospitable they’ll be in another couple years if things continue to deteriorate.

As for the “blame Bush” strategy of the Dems, that’s political suicide. I actually want to see them running in 2 years with that mantra. Even the idiot Obama voters from the John Ziegler video will know by then who’s been in charge of Washington and will find that pretty hard to swallow.

Doughboy on January 8, 2009 at 3:22 PM

What happened the last time a sitting President cut taxes during a recession?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on January 8, 2009 at 3:20 PM

The other side went apoplectic about the deficit?

Snowed In on January 8, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Chris Cuomo gave him a hard time the other day on Good Morning America.

Doughboy on January 8, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Saw that. Barney Frank seemed a little surprised and very angry at being questioned in such a fashion. And, IIRC, he never did answer Cuomo’s question. (I wish I could remember what the question was…)

Snowed In on January 8, 2009 at 3:24 PM

When I want economic advice from one of the architects of the current mess, I’ll shoot myself first.

Vashta.Nerada on January 8, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Asking Bawney Fwank to solve an economic crisis is like asking him to lead a scout troop. Bad Idea.

kingsjester on January 8, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Frank is so utterly disgusting that it’s difficult to even type his name.

rplat on January 8, 2009 at 3:33 PM

I can’t help but think this is triangulation from the Dems.

Making a show of Obama’s plan, saying it’s full of tax cuts (which it isn’t) so the non-informed electorate thinks Obambi is some kind of centrist…

Something like that?

catmman on January 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM

What a cocksucker.

Itchee Dryback on January 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Obviously the tax cuts that aren’t and the reparations that are, are out of balance. Bawney’s Fwank likes pork, formely called stimulus without taking the economy into consideration. Will midnight basketball make a return?

Jive talking is being brought to a new art form, hoodwinking and bamboozling are the new norm.

So when does the trillion dollar deficits end, once more Barry, when?

If I were a Republican I would be rally my colleagues to stand together and say not one vote for communist Obama, not one. Make clear who caused the crash.

tarpon on January 8, 2009 at 3:37 PM

In a way I actually agree with Frank. A ton of these tax cuts will be to the lowest earners. Politically sound, but will do absolutely nothing for the economy.

Remember the last 3 or 4 stimuli? They did jack and shit.

Chuck Schick on January 8, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Itchy. LOL

sabbott on January 8, 2009 at 3:45 PM

If I were a Republican I would be rally my colleagues to stand together and say not one vote for communist Obama, not one. Make clear who caused the crash.

tarpon on January 8, 2009 at 3:37 PM

I won’t be a Republican much longer if the GOP goes along with this nonsense. Any Republican in Washington who goes along with the belief that we can spend our way out of this while merely offering token tax cuts to the lowest income earners in the country should be voted out of office.

grdred944 on January 8, 2009 at 3:47 PM

And we can’t beat these idiots? Sad.

therightwinger on January 8, 2009 at 3:47 PM

How about taxing corrupt, incompetent and idiotic Democrats?

Frank alone should reduce the deficit by several trillion.

That the fecal matter encrusted, thieving, jackass pervert pedophile Barney Frank is STILL in Congress after single-handedly RUINING the US Economy, is a travesty and a mockery.

Frank should be literally tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail. Unfortunately, he’d probably enjoy it.

NoDonkey on January 8, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Obama’s stimulus plan spends too much money on tax cuts for his taste.

God help us. Think about that statement for a moment. This so completely encapsulates the Democratic thinking: It’s not our money to save, it’s their’s to spend.

F*ck’m all. Hell’s too cold a place for them.

nukemhill on January 8, 2009 at 3:54 PM

You guys are all racist er, or anti-gay or something….

brtex on January 8, 2009 at 3:55 PM

while Frank just remains dim.

ALERT: UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE DAY

drjohn on January 8, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Seems to me that a person should probably do the opposite of what Frank advises. You know, as a rule of thumb.

Count to 10 on January 8, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Obama’s stimulus plan spends too much money on tax cuts for his taste.

God help us. Think about that statement for a moment. This so completely encapsulates the Democratic thinking: It’s not our money to save, it’s their’s to spend.

F*ck’m all. Hell’s too cold a place for them.

nukemhill on January 8, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Think about what P.BO is pushing. It is spending, just labeled “tax cut”.

Count to 10 on January 8, 2009 at 3:58 PM

How about taxing corrupt, incompetent and idiotic Democrats?

NoDonkey on January 8, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Sure: raise the lowest tax rate, and get rid of the personal deduction. Done.

Count to 10 on January 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint Faerie Godmother

LibertyBoyNYC on January 8, 2009 at 4:01 PM

What a cocksucker.

Itchee Dryback on January 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM

AS far as he’s concerned that is good thing.

thomasaur on January 8, 2009 at 4:05 PM

AS far as he’s concerned that is good thing.

In Frank’s circles, that’s a term of endearment.

Probably what his bubba at Fannie Mae refers to him affectionately as, when Frank was collecting his kickbacks.

I remember when we actually had a press who cared when elected representatives collected bribes then torpedoed the US economy, what a silly old man I am.

NoDonkey on January 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

I’d like to know how Heritage derived those numbers: Amity Shlaes gives the year’s unemployment figure at the start of each chapter in her history of the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, and unemployment dipped below 20% at least a couple of times.

The basic thrust is correct, of course: massive government stimulus doesn’t work. Still, that chart is puzzling.

irishspy on January 8, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I dont know how anyone can understand what the, erm, man(?) is saying…what language is he speaking?

Pulchritudinous Patriot on January 8, 2009 at 4:14 PM

BF’s problem (I can’t stand to write his name either), is that he can’t steal as much money with a tax cut. Only when it gets filtered through congress’s sticky fingers can BF substantially add to his bank account.

elifino on January 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM

I dont know how anyone can understand what the, erm, man(?) is saying…what language is he speaking?

Pulchritudinous Patriot on January 8, 2009 at 4:14 PM

How true!!! Every time he talks all I get is “I taught I taw a putty tat”

milwife88 on January 8, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Seems to me that a person should probably do the opposite of what Frank advises. You know, as a rule of thumb.

Count to 10 on January 8, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Kind of reminds me of this. With Obambi in the General Custer mode.

brtex on January 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

What a cocksucker.

Itchee Dryback on January 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Sperm burpin’ cum bubble is more accurate.

thomasaur on January 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Is there anyone in the government who ever had a private sector job and knows the pain of working your ass off and looking at your paycheck and seeing how much has been taken from you to be given to the government to waste or pass on to someone who hasn’t spent the past week working their ass off???

ctmom on January 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Uh, no. But well said! Most of these idiots couldn’t run a lemonade stand.

redfoxbluestate on January 8, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Lest we forget how pleased the Democrats were with themselves when they made TARP into law, legalizing the theft of billions from future generations to benefit the bankers of today, I shall post the photograph of their triumph.

Rae on January 8, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Most of these idiots couldn’t run a lemonade stand.

That’s not a requirement for graduating from Harvard or serving in Congress.

In fact, actually running a lemonade stand will keep you OUT OF Harvard or Congress.

No, those who attend Harvard or get elected to Congress, would never dirty their aristocratic hands, as a lemonade vendor – it just isn’t done!

They are however, FULLY QUALIFIED to tax lemonade stands to death, to regulate lemonade stands to the point where they are unprofitable and then shriek at the lemonade stand owners for being “greedy capitalists”.

The French Revolutionaries had the right idea – things keep going south because of these jackass aristocrats and the guillotine will make a comeback and Barney Frank’s fat melon might be the first one in the basket.

NoDonkey on January 8, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Barney Frank, economic idiot of the first order.

Webrider on January 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Could one not argue that World War II was in a sense, a government jobs program?

Some legitimate and needed government spending is being neglected because of the unresponsible and unconstitutional pork barrel spending. Private contractors and suppliers also benefit from governement spending which drives the economy. Barney Frank simply doesn’t know who pays all the bills. The American people.

ctmom on January 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM

When you say “in the government”, you mean elected officials I hope. And even then, i’m sure many have worked hard in their lives. John McCain is “in the government” and he has given his entire life to his country. Serving “in the government” can be a noble and even honorable occupation. I’m a frontline government worker that happens to be a Reagan conservative, and I work my ass off every day.

mike_NC9 on January 8, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Nooooooh! If things weren’t dreary enough, Obama is appointing his good friend and ‘legal scholar’ Cass Sunstein as “regulatory czar”. Just what we need – another Professor who has never worked in or run a private business telling businesses how to operate.

Item one: He is married to Samantha “Hillary is a Monster” Powers, which is a huge hint that he is a Big L Leftist.

Item two: He wants to regulate the internet because freedom is slavery, or something.

Item Three: He’s an enviromentalist.

Someone wake me up when this nightmare is over.

Buy Danish on January 8, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Where are Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin when you need them?

dragonash on January 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Serving “in the government” can be a noble and even honorable occupation. I’m a frontline government worker that happens to be a Reagan conservative, and I work my ass off every day.

mike_NC9 on January 8, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Serving the government as a career politician was never envisioned by the founders. John McCain is a war hero and has served his country well and much too long. Its time for him to pass the baton on to someone else, so that someone else may serve his country just as well.

‘nuf said about John McVain!

belad on January 8, 2009 at 5:07 PM

People like Barney Frank need to be put up against a wall.

GarandFan on January 8, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Is there anyone in the government who ever had a private sector job and knows the pain of working your ass off and looking at your paycheck and seeing how much has been taken from you to be given to the government to waste or pass on to someone who hasn’t spent the past week working their ass off???

ctmom on January 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Is this a trick question?

Johan Klaus on January 8, 2009 at 5:32 PM

Barney has packed too much $hit into his head.

omnipotent on January 8, 2009 at 5:32 PM

One can only hope we as a country can outlive this disastrous reign of The Banking Queen.

petefrt on January 8, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Barney has packed too much $hit into his head.

omnipotent on January 8, 2009 at 5:32 PM
via his ass

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on January 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM

It took a world war to pull us out of the Great Depression, after FDR’s policies deepened it so.

A collapse of the global economy looks more likely with each passing day. With the global economy in collapse, wars are more likely. But even war may not pull us out of this one, as the labor intensiveness of war has been substantially replaced by technology.

petefrt on January 8, 2009 at 5:53 PM

It took a world war to pull us out of the Great Depression, after FDR’s policies deepened it so.
petefrt on January 8, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Maybe that is the dems secret plan.

Johan Klaus on January 8, 2009 at 6:08 PM

It’s time to correct the gloss-over revisionism of St. Roosevelt’s Reign of Bureaucracy.

whitetop on January 8, 2009 at 7:30 PM


Government-controlled capital gets used in the most inefficient manner possible.

“Inefficient” doesn’t even come close. As an example, Government sponsored construction contracts can run as high as 100% overhead. If the project ever gets started on time in the first place, and ever comes in on schedule and under budget.

The old saw “An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications” has more than a grain of truth in it.

The_Real_JeffS on January 8, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Franks is a total joke. Wish he was ill like gravely ill. He was part of the housing collapse. What a twit. Or?

sheebe on January 8, 2009 at 11:37 PM

Why is this Old Toad not in jail over Freddy and Fannie? He could get sex in jail for free, he wouldn’t have to run a gay brothel in his apartment like he did previously. Old Toads need to pay for it from the young guys, in jail it would be like Democrat Welfare Sex…Lock him up and throw away the key. He would enjoy it, but at least it would keep him from harming the American public anymore…….

adamsmith on January 9, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Is there no one who will relieve us from this disgusting deviant’s lies and schemes?

GeneSmith on January 9, 2009 at 8:57 AM

Eh, Frank is a gay man, so I’m never as disgusted by what comes out of his mouth as what goes into it.

radjah shelduck on January 8, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Does this mean I can get away with making the crack that Barney Frank is Queen of the Banking Committee?

gryphon202 on January 9, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Barack Obama appears to realize this, at least dimly, while Frank just remains dim.

Why do you have to be so flipping charitable, Ed? Obama, Frank, and most of the Democratic leadership in DC is collectively worried about one thing, and one thing only: Power. When you view their actions through that prism, it all makes sense. It’s no less maddening, but at least it makes sense.

Barney Frank isn’t stupid. He’s dangerous.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2009 at 2:24 PM