What did we expect him to say, “We misread the economy?” That’s for losers and Vice Presidents … but I repeat myself. In his weekly radio address, Barack Obama insisted that we should stop listening to the critics — and the man he put in charge of the stimulus package — and revel in the fabulous success that is Porkulus:
In a little over one hundred days, this Recovery Act has worked as intended. It has already extended unemployment insurance and health insurance to those who have lost their jobs in this recession. It has delivered $43 billion in tax relief to American working families and businesses. Without the help the Recovery Act has provided to struggling states, its estimated that state deficits would be nearly twice as large as they are now, resulting in tens of thousands of additional layoffs – layoffs that would affect police officers, teachers, and firefighters.
The Recovery Act has allowed small businesses and clean energy companies to hire new workers or scrap their plans for eliminating current jobs. And it’s led to new jobs building roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects, thousands of which are only beginning now. In the months to come, thousands more projects will begin, leading to additional jobs.
When Obama pushed for Porkulus and Congress passed it, do you recall when they argued that it would help states close their deficits? In fact, they argued that the money would go directly to “shovel-ready projects” and create new jobs, not get states off the hook for their own tough decisions on fiscal policy. Had Democrats stood up and said, “What we really need to do is conduct bailouts for all 50 states,” the voters would have abandoned Porkulus in droves. And yet that’s exactly what Obama brags he’s done here.
Obama then offers this rather standard dishonest argument — that those who oppose Porkulus wanted to do nothing at all:
Now, I realize that when we passed this Recovery Act, there were those who felt that doing nothing was somehow an answer. Today, some of those same critics are already judging the effort a failure although they have yet to offer a plausible alternative. Others believed that the recovery plan should have been even larger, and are already calling for a second recovery plan.
But, as I made clear at the time it was passed, the Recovery Act was not designed to work in four months – it was designed to work over two years. We also knew that it would take some time for the money to get out the door, because we are committed to spending it in a way that is effective and transparent. Crucially, this is a plan that will also accelerate greatly throughout the summer and the fall. We must let it work the way it’s supposed to, with the understanding that in any recession, unemployment tends to recover more slowly than other measures of economic activity.
That’s an absolute lie, and a deliberate one. In fact, it’s a series of deliberate lies. First, the Republicans did offer at least two proposals, neither of which Nancy Pelosi would allow to come to the floor. One was a tax-holiday proposal which would have allowed taxpayers a break from funding the federal government. The second and better idea actually came from moderate Democrat Rep. Walt Minnick (ID), who proposed a $170 billion START stimulus that relied solely on tax refunds and government spending in only 2009. Republicans backed Minnick’s START plan, but it never got a vote — because Pelosi and Obama locked Minnick’s idea out in favor of their plan.
Obama’s argument that he had promised a two-year effect is also a lie. Obama and his economic team sold Porkulus as a means to prevent an immediate spike in unemployment. Obama’s economic council argued that a failure to pass Porkulus would drive unemployment to 8.8% in the near term. Passing Porkulus would keep it at 8% or below this year. Romer’s own analysis showed that in three years, unemployment would be within a percentage point regardless of whether Porkulus was adopted or not. It was all about short-term performance, and Obama’s plan failed.
As Joe Biden said, they misread the economy, and gave us a failed strategy. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor agrees on that much with Biden:
There is no doubt that our nation faces many challenges, but the plain truth is that President Obama’s economic decisions have not produced jobs, have not produced prosperity and have not worked.
President Obama has already asked you to borrow trillions, and so far nearly 3 million jobs have been lost this year alone.
Remember the promises? They promised you if you paid for their stimulus, jobs would be created immediately. In fact, they said that unemployment would stay under eight percent.
Yet just months later, they are telling us to brace for unemployment to climb over ten percent. They promised jobs created. Now they scramble to find a way to play games with government numbers by claiming jobs saved.
Simply put, this is now President Obama’s economy and the American people are beginning to question whether his policies are working.
They’re beginning to do more than question it. They’re beginning to agree with Biden that the White House botched it.