So much for the "ramp-up" in stimulus spending

For a man who likes to reach so often into other people’s pockets, Barack Obama increasingly has trouble reaching into his own.  He promised to “ramp up” Porkulus spending two weeks ago when the unemployment reports threatened to undermine support for his economic policies.  Instead, the flow of money slowed to the smallest amount since Porkulus launched:

Federal spending meant to jump-start the economy slowed last week, two weeks after President Obama vowed to “ramp up” the pace of that aid.

Last week, federal agencies allocated about $5.2billion in new stimulus aid for projects across the country, according to disclosure reports the agencies released Thursday.

That’s less than at any point in the previous month and less than the roughly $8.6 billion the government has spent, on average, in every previous week since Obama signed the massive spending and tax relief package in February.

In early June, polling started showing that confidence in his economic leadership was declining.  The White House simultaneously minimized that trend and reacted to it, first by conceding that unemployment would exceed their own internal predictions in the absence of stimulus, then by promising to spend the money more quickly and efficiently than ever before,  A failure to do that will only make people question Obama’s economic leadership even more, and perhaps finally his honesty and competence at the same time.

The timing couldn’t be worse for Obama.  New unemployment filings increased to 627,000 last week, news of which broke yesterday.  The White House tried claiming credit for a slight decrease in new filings a couple of weeks ago, putting them even further on the hook for reversals, and less able to blame Bush — an argument that has just about reached its sell-by date anyway.  Nor was that the only bad news on the economic front.  Sales of new homes fell again by 0.6%, when analysts predicted an increase.

Next Thursday, the BLS will release the figures for unemployment in June.  With the so-called stimulus doing nothing to save or create jobs, and indeed hardly moving at all despite promises of a “ramp-up,” a hike from 9.4% will devastate the administration and make it look completely ineffective.  That could help halt the enormously expensive Obama domestic agenda marching through Congress at the moment.  It certainly explains why the Democrats are in such a rush to get votes on cap-and-trade and ObamaCare.

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