Opinion Brief

Would Mitt Romney have backed a stimulus package?

After Mitt accuses Obama of wasting money and killing jobs, commentators turn back the clock to 2009 to imagine what President Romney would have done

Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama's $800 billion economic stimulus package, saying that it actually killed jobs. A senior Romney campaign aide calls the spending the "mother of all earmarks," accusing Obama of wasting taxpayer funds by steering it to donors and destroying the public's confidence in the economy. The White House counters by saying that Obama "brought the nation back from the brink of another Depression" and rescued the auto industry, which it says Romney would have let die. If Romney were in charge during the dark days of early 2009, what would he have done?

Romney would have backed a stimulus, too: The presumptive GOP nominee should not be able to say "with a straight face that he wouldn't have pushed for some stimulus spending to rescue an economy in freefall," says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. In January 2009, he flat out said that a stimulus was needed to keep the economy and middle-class families above water. He wasn't endorsing Obama's exact plan, but he inarguably backed "stimulus spending in general." So it's "ridiculously incoherent" for him to say now that Obama's stimulus spending somehow impeded the recovery.
"What would Romney have done in January 2009?"

But Mitt would have invested taxpayer money more wisely: We may never know all the details of what Romney would have done, but we certainly know that the Republican Romney would have done things diferently than the Democrat in the White House, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Mitt "had a track record of overwhelming success at turning around troubled organizations and creating explosive expansion." Obama, meanwhile, lost the money of his investors — taxpayers — by throwing cash at "businesses that investors have shunned." How did that work out for us?
"Video: How's the Public Equity President performing, part II"

Hold on. Obama's stimulus worked: Romney won't beat Obama by attacking the stimulus, says The Agonist. If you set aside the over-the-top partisan rhetoric, you'll see that Obama's massive aid package "seemed to work fine: Most of it was paid back, GM and Chrysler are both making money again." The economy is slowly gaining steam; the unemployment rate is dropping. "Sure beats the Hoover-style tax cuts of Bush and the GOP over the past 10 years."
"Mitt's dilemma"

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