President Obama is calling for a new series of measures to jolt the economy, including a $50 billion infrastructure plan he unveiled Monday and a series of tax breaks for businesses he is proposing later in the week. The White House says the plans will be all or mostly paid for by ending subsidies for oil and gas companies and closing corporate loopholes. But with Republicans already painting the plan as another big spending spree, is a new "stimulus" package a good idea? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the plan)
More stimulus, less politics: Obama's "tax cuts for 'small business'" would have a pretty "low bang-for-buck" ratio, says The Week's Bullpen columnist Brad DeLong in his blog, but the funding to improve roads, rails, and runways "is almost certainly a very good idea." Unfortunately, $50 billion is, like most Obama "bunts," way too small to do much good. Sadly, this is more about the election than the economy.
"Obama economic policy: Yet another 'Obama bunts' edition"
This is "like a terrible remake of Groundhog Day": The only good thing about these "proposals to buy votes" is their relatively small size, says Daniel Mitchell at the Cato Institute, and "that they’re probably not as poorly designed as previous stimulus schemes." But they're based on the same fatally flawed assumption that "growth is sluggish because government is not big enough."
"Obama's new stimulus schemes: Same song, umpteenth verse"
These are great ideas... that will never pass: Obama's proposals not only "make sense on the merits," says Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress, but in normal times they would be pretty uncontroversial. In this political climate, "Congress almost certainly won't agree to anything this sensible," and "presidential 'messaging'" won't change that or the outcome of the midterms. But Obama should still keep the good ideas coming, and "hope for the best."
"More like this please"
It would have been smart six months ago: Boy, has the administration bumbled its de facto "second stimulus," says Joshua Green at The Atlantic. "These measures come far too late. Had the White House put forward a unified package in the spring, as it considered doing, some version might have already passed." Instead, Obama has set himself up for failure by dawdling and then offering an a la carte plan — allowing Republicans to snap up the tax cuts and sabotage the rest.
"A second stimulus"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Surviving a plane crash
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: The man who would be caliph
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- Ted Cruz and the most cynical, despicable political stunt of the year
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Confessions of a hotel insider
Subscribe to the Week