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Winning the stimulus debate
President Obama tries to sell the public on an economic stimulus plan facing Republican opposition
 

What happened
President Obama has been pitching his $800 billion economic stimulus plan to the public in a series of appearances aimed at countering Republican opposition. (The New York Times) Contracting specialists warned that the Obama administration’s stimulus plan could waste billions by spending money too fast for the bureaucracy to oversee it. (The Washington Post)

What the commentators said
Obama is on the wrong side of this issue, said John Hinderaker in Power Line. A Rassmussen poll found that 62 percent of Americans want the stimulus package to be heavier on the tax cuts, and lighter on the government spending. Most Americans get that the Democrats' bill is “a massive transfer of wealth from the private sector to government and the clients of the Democratic Party.”

The Senate’s compromise bill already “has too many concessions to tax cutters in both parties,” said Robert Kuttner in The Huffington Post, but at least what’s left of the spending will serve as “a down payment” on the infrastructure and social spending we need. Obama will have to push for more, but this bill will be a good first step.

It might have been, said Paul Krugman in The New York Times, if the centrists hadn’t made Obama’s already insufficient plan “weaker and worse.” Gone now are billions in spending on new schools, food stamps, and health care, and in the place of the lost spending to create jobs we now have “a $15,000 bonus for affluent people who flip their houses.”

Obama’s stumbles have injected new life into Republicans, said Jennifer Rubin in Commentary. The White House and the Democrats in charge in Congress could have gone for the middle ground and pulled in more GOP support, but it turns out that, despite their success on the campaign trail, they aren’t “that good at this governing business.”

 

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