House Democrats unveiled a draft of the stimulus package requested by President-elect Obama, said Steve Benen in Washington Monthly online, and it weighs in at $825 billion—$550 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax cuts. It’s just a draft—and the Senate will write its own version—but thankfully it has several items that offer “an amazing bang-for-the-buck in terms of stimulus,” like $20 billion for food stamps and $43 billion to extend jobless benefits.
Forget it, said Hugh Hewitt in Townhall. The House’s draft is a “disaster,” a “giant federal firehose spraying money in a hundred directions,” with nothing to show for it. Not even the $275 billion in “tax relief” can “justify such an orgy of purposeless spending.” So much for hopes that Obama could “moderate the demands of the Congressional Democrats.”
Nobody likes the idea of spending “enormous sums” of borrowed money, said Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post, but it’s one of those “unpleasant realities” that we have to accept if we want “to prevent a financial and economic collapse.” The House’s plan is “a pretty good one,” actually, and it should buy us a soft landing without “reinflating the bubble economy”—if Congress passes it.
“Getting Congress to agree to spend billions of dollars and cut billions more in taxes” is the easy part, said Gerald Seib in The Wall Street Journal. Obama’s bigger challenge is in getting Congress and the public to sign on to the other part of his “Grand Bargain”—negotiating long-term solutions to our scary “budget mess,” including “frightening long-term problems” like Social Security and Medicare.