New White House spin: Stimulus not designed to … stimulate; Update: Obama’s stimulus speech

posted at 5:30 pm on July 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Old White House spin: Porkulus has stimulated the economy and “saved or created” 150,000 jobs.  New White House spin: Stimulus?  What stimulus?  ABC’s Yunji de NIes reports from somewhere down the rabbit hole, er, the White House briefing room:

Turns out the $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (AARA) was not designed for full economic recovery, but rather to “stabilize” the downturn.  That’s the word from White House officials today, who held off-camera briefings with reporters on how the AARA is working so far.

“This legislation was designed to cushion the downturn,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “That’s why we have always talked about this as one function of economic recovery.”

When pressed about the change in terminology, Gibbs said he was not trying to temper expectations after the fact. “I can probably find 15 or 20 occasions when I said this in the lead up,” Gibbs said, explaining that he had always defined the AARA as part of a “multi-legged stool.”

And Eastasia has never been at war with Oceania, Winston!  Does this mean that their referencing a “stimulus” from before Obama took office to as late as, well, yesterday just never happened?

Q And they were incorporated in the stimulus, too, and it didn’t get you any final votes.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I’m happy that you acknowledge the efforts in the stimulus

Or, for that matter, two days ago?

In the near term, various factors should help to stem the downturn and eventually increase overall production and lead to employment growth.  Most obviously, the ARRA provides $787 billion of fiscal stimulus spread primarily over the next two years.  This fiscal stimulus takes a number of forms:  tax cuts for working families and businesses; protection of the most vulnerable through programs such as extended unemployment compensation; direct government spending on infrastructure, energy efficiency projects, and other public investments; and fiscal relief for state governments to help maintain key services.  Taken together, the various forms of fiscal stimulus are expected to provide powerful upward pressure on aggregate demand and to aid recovery.

Translation?  The White House has just about given up hope that Porkulus will show any positive upward pressure this year, which is no great surprise, since most of the spending happens in year two – and most of that will not be a stimulus as much as a wish list of liberal fantasies.  Unfortunately, they sold it as a short-term solution to unemployment as well as a stimulus.  Now that neither have succeeded, they have to spin it as something entirely different.

Best of luck with that.  Voters have already grown disenchanted with HopeNChange, as Obama’s declining poll numbers amply demonstrate.  Telling voters that this is as good as it gets after waltzing out the door with $800 billion isn’t going to make them love Obama more.

Update: Just a reminder from Slublog about how Obama sold Porkulus in early January:

That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth. …

There is no doubt that the cost of this plan will be considerable.  It will certainly add to the budget deficit in the short-term.  But equally certain are the consequences of doing too little or nothing at all, for that will lead to an even greater deficit of jobs, incomes, and confidence in our economy.  It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe.

But it’s not a “stimulus.”  Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

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Finally, this recovery and reinvestment plan will provide immediate relief to states, workers, and families who are bearing the brunt of this recession.

What’s been spent- about 8% over five months?

That’s immediate?

drjohn on July 17, 2009 at 7:03 AM

Here’s a way to settle the birth certificate question.

I think the more damaging evidence is his 1981 Pakistan trip. If he traveled there BEFORE Reagan removed Pakistan from the do not travel list b/c of their nuclear ambitions, BHO would have had to travel on a British (from his Kenya roots) or an Indonesian passport. Both mean he would have to be repatriated if the suspect Hawaii birth certificate is accepted.

gonnjos on July 17, 2009 at 7:47 AM

Who said this a few loooooooong months ago:

“You get the argument, ‘Well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill.’ What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously. That’s the point.”


The point is the one on top of your head – buffoon.

scituate_tgr on July 17, 2009 at 8:48 AM

All we have to do to settle the birth certificate issue is to tell Andrew Sullivan that Trig’s real birth certificate is hidden in Hawaii and we’d all know within 24 hours.

inmypajamas on July 17, 2009 at 8:49 AM

Obama: Stimulus must have immediate impact

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) — U.S. President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday said any economic stimulus package must have an immediate impact as well as lay the groundwork for future growth.

drjohn on July 17, 2009 at 9:10 AM

But, but, but Obama danced on Ellen and other celebrities LIKE him. Isn’t that enough?!?


Lourdes on July 17, 2009 at 9:30 AM

Biden: We have to spend money so we don’t go bankrupt.

On Drudge. Dude.

lorien1973 on July 16, 2009 at 5:33 PM

That’s the perspective of one (Biden, for key example) who has no concept of money as to anything except it being from the public, not by his own labor. He and other Democrats perceive “money” as being some sort of grand pear or apple they’re entitled to that ‘just falls from the taxpayer tree’ whenever they want to fly around the world or buy more pearls (that last part is hyperbole for purposes of making a point, that the Democrats, by party characteristic and by key element deemed attractive to those who are Democrats and vote for more of them, is that/this understanding of what “money” is, something they can and should take because other people are earning/generating it).

So Biden’s talking from that side of his brain: the side where “money” is defined as this giant big fruit that falls from the taxpayers’ tree whenever the Democrats have a plan or program or exploit to create and fund. “Spending” then creates a sorta’ “flow” in the economy by which more taxes (more fruit) is “made”, so their solution to economic woes is not to reduce spending and to increase accountability of the use of other poeples’ money, it is to INCREASE exploits using other peoples’ money. THAT way, there’s more fruit on the taxpayers’ tree falling into the waiting hands of people like Biden and Obama and other “community organizers.”

At least, that’s their garden party story.

Lourdes on July 17, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Biden: We have to spend money so we don’t go bankrupt.

On Drudge. Dude.

lorien1973 on July 16, 2009 at 5:33 PM

I’ve had that sinking impression several times in the last month myself. BUT, hell, so God forewarns us, is worse than anything we can imagine and most of us can imagine quite a terrible lot, including our present conditions.

What I think it is is the tribulation. This isn’t as bad as what hell is told us to be, but, tribulation is still immensely a suffering episode. Thus, we’re really seeing epic failure being glorified and the emergence of that Ugly Head where once honor was.

Lourdes on July 17, 2009 at 9:43 AM

COMMENTS @ 9:443 AM by me (“Lourdes”) ^^ were supposed to be in reference to these earlier comments:

It really is hell….

ladyingray on July 16, 2009 at 5:42 PM

Lourdes on July 17, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Here is an interesting article which seems to get the problem with the stimulus right (but the solution only half-right):

Count to 10 on July 17, 2009 at 9:59 AM

“This legislation was designed to cushion the downturn,”

…by digging a deeper hole and putting a few pillows in it (but only under the chosen few).

Count to 10 on July 17, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Obama is clearly a deceitful liar trying to turn the US upside down by lowering the status of achievers, and elevating the status of the non-productive pseudo-victim classes.

It will backfire on him to be sure. The quickest, brightest, and most ambitious people, white or non-white, will always be more successful, and the hapless deadbeats will always be victims in their own minds.

Obama can’t make all the fish in the sea swim at the same speed. All the damage Obama intends to inflict will be able to be repaired once he is gone.

Who knows, he may be doing this country a favor in the long run by forever tainting the misguided far left ideology and sending it to the ash heap of failed ideas.

saiga on July 17, 2009 at 10:03 AM

CrockObama: “We are the ones we have been waiting for”… get even with the capitalist pigs, for keeping us down and oppressing the oppressed. Wow, that hope and change is sooo cool.

Even in the Austrian language, CrockObama has been a dismal failure.

dthorny on July 17, 2009 at 10:04 AM

I knew Obama would go down in flames, but I didn’t expect him and Joe to be so…enthusiastic about it. It’s like these two are trying to get people to call them stupid.

P.S. – Now I get it! I’d been calling it a stimulus bill the whole time. Now that I have the proper terminology, it makes complete sense. It’s stabilization, not stimulus. Course, I can’t really say it’s stabilized crap.

Obama will be right back to the created or saved meme again. Who can disprove that he ‘saved’ a billion jobs??? Anyone??

Thunderstorm129 on July 17, 2009 at 10:20 AM

This is why cap-and-trade will fail, too. Nobody believes the administration anymore about how programs are job bills.

You can get by with sloppy PR spin, but if the reality is not the same or at least close, then you blow credibility.

AnninCA on July 17, 2009 at 10:24 AM

We need either a large number of cases or one high profile case (celebrity, Senator, etc.) where when asked to produce a long form birth certificate the person refers the authorities to a copy of his or her short form COLB on a website.
If questioned on the eligibility of said document as adequate proof they can cite Robert Gibbs statement that that was good enough proof for the POTUS.
Use their own BS against them.

PaddyJ on July 17, 2009 at 5:57 AM

Wouldn’t it be funny to take someone everyone KNOWS is not a natural born citizen (like Arnold, for example) and get him a COLB… then start a campaign to elect him as president?

Then when people start saying, “But everyone KNOWS he’s not natural born…” we simply reply, hey, the COLB was good enough for the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers. It must be good enough for our candidate, too.

(yes, I know Arnold wouldn’t have a US COLB but you get the idea)

Daggett on July 17, 2009 at 10:29 AM

This poor sick Republic is drowning and the fools that run it have tied rocks to our waists. This couldn’t happen . . . right? Wrong, it is happening and the country is traveling at warp speed towards its final destruction.

rplat on July 17, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Gibbs said, explaining that he had always defined the AARA as part of a “multi-legged stool.”

It sure stinks like stool.

crazy_legs on July 17, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Eh. I should really read the thread before commenting…

crazy_legs on July 17, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Out: Stimulus

In: Staticus

Dilophos on July 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM

And the scorpion said, “It’s my nature.”

Akzed on July 17, 2009 at 11:36 AM

You would have to be an absolute Obama cultist with your head buried so far up his butt that radar could not find it to believe anything this administration has to say anymore.

Obama’s own economic team stated that this 1.3 trillion dollar (when paid for) rip off of the American people was supposed to jump start the economy and create jobs.
They even put it in writing:

“This legislation was designed to cushion the downturn,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “That’s why we have always talked about this as one function of economic recovery.”
Robert Gibbs Press Conference
July 16, 2009

BULLSH!T Gibbs!!!!!


Christina Romer: Chair – Nominee- Designate

Council of Economic Advisors

Jared Bernstein: Office of the Vice-President elect

G. Conclusions
This study has sought to investigate the likely job creation effects of the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Plan currently under consideration. As emphasized at many points in the analysis,
there is substantial uncertainty around all of our estimates. Nevertheless, we believe they can
provide useful guidance as we go forward. Among the key lessons from the analysis are:

. The recovery plan needs to be large to counter the tremendous job loss that is likely to occur.

. The plan needs to include a range of components, such as direct government spending, state fiscal relief, and tax cuts to ensure that jobs are created quickly and throughout the economy.

. The range of components is also important for ensuring that both male and female workers benefit from the program.

. An aggressive recovery program is important for protecting all Americans from job loss, but
particularly for aiding those groups disproportionately hurt by the rise in the overall unemployment rate.

. A well designed recovery plan will not only create numerous jobs, but also many jobs paying
good wages and providing full-time employment.

This combined with many statements from the Obama administration touting it’s importance for creating jobs now and that famous job creation graph(done with Obama’s own economic guru’s numbers(Romer) that shows the “stimulus” has failed so badly that job numbers have exceeded the “if we do nothing” numbers.

Now we have Obama’s own CBO warning of impending disaster concerning the spiraling deficit and stating that his health care plan would actually cost us more and deliver less.

The democrats are nothing more than a criminal organization
masquerading as a political party.

“Hope and Change” is nothing more than “Hustle and Chutzpa”

Baxter Greene on July 17, 2009 at 11:44 AM

The Obama Stimulus: Predictions vs. Reality

chipandcharge on July 17, 2009 at 12:01 PM

remember–shovel ready and this must be done immediately

rjoco1 on July 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Dr. Zero’s 0% unemployment NOW!

We PAID for it. We demand it. Yes we can.

maverick muse on July 17, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Why does he think we’re stupid?


The 2008 election maybe?

xblade on July 17, 2009 at 3:59 PM

…..time for version 783 of the Whitehouse lexicon, to be distributed immediately!

From this point forward, the word ‘stimulus’ will be replaced with ‘stabilization’.

All previous lexicons are now defunct. Destroy all video and re-write all publications using this word. Deny it ever existed.

Got it.

LEBA on July 17, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Is it me or does Obama seriously not realise the trouble

America is in? I’ve said it before – the moment he started putting ridiculous pork projects into a stimulus package was the moment I realised he just doesn’t ‘get it.’ He’s either badly advised, or he’s out of his depth.

Am I wrong? Seriously, I would love to hear a counter-argument.

dcpolwarth on July 17, 2009 at 4:39 AM

That’s the profoundly confusing part for most sane people. They can’t get their minds around the fact that a PRESIDENT (formerly the greatest patriots) could actually WANT hardshop for us. See, you need to start thinking from a radical statist’s perspective. They need chaos, failure, famine, poverty, and upheaval to seize control. ANY means are justified by the end. Obama is a smart and ruthless guy – plus he’s a megalomaniac. He thinks he knows better. He knows what’s right. He knows his “one world order” is better for humanity. Start thinking about his actions through these glasses, not what’s normal and American. This nonsense will start to make sense.

marklmail on July 17, 2009 at 5:02 PM

The one good thing about this disaster is that the Keynesians won’t have a leg to stand on for at least another 200 years. The Obama administration is providing us with one last chunk of irrefutable empirical evidence that economic statism doesn’t work.

Sharke on July 17, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Obama is a smart and ruthless guy – plus he’s a megalomaniac. He thinks he knows better. He knows what’s right. He knows his “one world order” is better for humanity. Start thinking about his actions through these glasses, not what’s normal and American. This nonsense will start to make sense.

marklmail on July 17, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Pride goes before the fall…. Let him keep puffing himself up. I really want him to think how important he is, really really important….

ted c on July 17, 2009 at 7:54 PM

The One believed that His father could have saved Kenya but lost out due to African politics So he is trying to get the US down to 185th on per capita GNP. Makes Kenya look better.

He also said that the porculus projects were “shovel ready” when the Republicans complained that the spending would not come for years. Check it out.

IlikedAUH2O on July 17, 2009 at 10:21 PM

dcpolwarth, right now, the only logical conclusion is that Obama is attempting to bankrupt the country. :/

How in the world is all of this unconstitutional tripe happening? Shouldn’t the judicial branch step in to stop it or something? If somebody sued saying “hey, where is the government’s enumerated power to take over health care in the Constitution?”, wouldn’t it stop this whole thing?

This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. :/
Theophile on July 17, 2009 at 5:51 AM

The courts can initiate now action themselves, they can only adjudicate a case that is brought before them. Therefore someone must first bring suit, the trick here, from the little I know, is that one must first establish “standing” to do so.

At least in the realm of the COB issue this has been near impossible. On Drudge yesterday ther wsa a blurb regarding the Army rescinding someone’s deployment oreders after they protested that Obama was not elgible to issue such orders and thereby put him in jeapordy of commiting a war crime.

All very interesting but, where it will lead is anyone’s guess.

Archimedes on July 18, 2009 at 1:20 AM

Again with the friggin typo’s!

The courts cannot initiate any action themselves,…

Archimedes on July 18, 2009 at 1:22 AM

Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers

Bwahahahaha! Now where are those damn screen wipey things….

Archimedes on July 18, 2009 at 1:32 AM

I want to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. I’m really trying to.

The best I can do is to say that, because the stimulus package was one of the first things he had to deal with as President, he was unprepared and poorly briefed on the real situation. That might explain why he allowed so many unstimulating ‘stimulus’ pork projects to get through. But if so, why not amend it later? Why does he keep trying to push through something that clearly is poorly concieved?

That does not explain his desire to push through the medical reforms at this time. It was a major plank of his mandate so he must enact the reforms in some way, but why now? Why not leave it a couple of years for the dust to settle in the US economy? Its making a lot of people very nervous.

You have to understand that I want Obama to be a good President. The world needs a good President. I don’t care if its Republican or a Democrat in the White House as long as they understand the gravity of the situation and have the right resources and leadership to do whats necessary. But I feel Obama is a President for good times – he’s a feel-good President, not a great leader. You need someone with real gravitas and a sense of authority to lead in difficult times, and I’m afraid that Obama is not the man.

I think he’s taken the job on too early. He needs a bit of seasoning in high-end politics. There have been way too many gaffs and blunders in his administration so far for me to feel totally comfortable with his Presidency. And yet he’s all we’ve got.

Just to let you guys know, as a Brit I’m rooting for the US to come out of this better than when you went in. I have confidence in the American people to make this work, regardless of who is in the White House. So even if you feel despair at some of his decisions, just have confidence in your own initiative.

dcpolwarth on July 19, 2009 at 5:23 AM

Seasoning, the guy needs absolutely NO more seasoning. He is doing exactly what he intended and please reread the comments from marklmail a few above you. It is outstanding and right on. Read it and reread it. It has to sink in. this maniac in the White House knows exactly what he is doing. God help us …

highninside on July 19, 2009 at 8:13 PM