Ever had a “fast one” pulled on you? Remember the feeling? Wasn’t fun, was it? So it has been with the economic stimulus plan. When you’re in bad financial shape, the last thing you want to do is borrow and spend tons of money, especially if it’s for luxurious things. When you find yourself in a pinch, you cut back, isolate your necessities and concentrate on saving whatever you can in case things get worse. Unless you’re the federal government.
I have to smile (as I shake my head) remembering friends of mine complaining that conservatives were using “scare tactics” in predicting what would happen in an Obama administration. And the first thing our new President did in office was to use the same approach in talking with us about the economy.
“If nothing is done” he said in a Washington Post Op-Ed, February 5, “this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.”
If we did not take immediate action and pass his stimulus bill, these things “might” happen. And so he convinced many people that we had to do this or else. Now, five months later, not only did our Congress pass his stimulus, but we also have the near double digit unemployment.
In fact, the Obama administration predicted we could stop the unemployment rate at 8%. “Further, the boost to the economy would keep the unemployment rate from surpassing 8%, according to a January study by Obama administration economists Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein. Without it, the study said, unemployment could rise to 9% in 2010” from this CNN story.
Of course, these numbers, predictions, and outcomes can all be brushed aside by the “we didn’t realize the economy was this bad” argument. I’m not sure how they could have made it sound any direr. Nor could they have drawn up much worse of a plan. Those that read the stimulus bill (which included none of Congress – they admitted it) found a hefty load of pork. In fact, that’s what nearly all of it was.
Glenn Beck illustrates this well in this video clip.
It’s obvious to me that our President bought a bunch of things he and his constituents wanted – that had nothing to do with stimulating the economy – and played on our economic fears to do it.
How does it feel to be “had”?