Reason TV: Why Obama’s Stimulus Failed

In this new video from Reason, Veronique de Rugy, an economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University who has extensively studied the 2009 stimulus, explains why the the deficit spending failed to revive the economy. Reason and De Rugy use the city of Silver Springs, Maryland, who receive subsidies for transportation projects, as a case study, as well as analyzing other aspects of the stimulus spending:

CBO: Stimulus bill will crowd out the private sector

Even though the Obama Administration, congressional Democrats, and Keynesian economists claimed that spending would get the country moving again, critics of the 2009 stimulus bill argued that the it was wasteful and would result in a negative impact on the economy when it was all said and done. Who was right? Well, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that many of the criticisms of Obamanomics were well-founded:

The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday downgraded its estimate of the benefits of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, saying it may have sustained as few as 700,000 jobs at its peak last year and that over the long run it will actually be a net drag on the economy.

CBO said that while the Recovery Act boosted the economy in the short run, the extra debt that the stimulus piled up “crowds out” private investment and “will reduce output slightly in the long run — by between 0 and 0.2 percent after 2016.”

The analysis confirms what CBO predicted before the stimulus passed in February 2009, though the top-end decline of two-tenths of a percent is actually deeper than the agency predicted back then.
CBO has re-evaluated the stimulus every three months, and its estimates for the total cost have varied. Initially the package was pegged at $787 billion, rose as high as $862 billion at one point, and is now projected to be $825 billion once all the money is paid out.

The nonpartisan agency also has changed its model for the spending’s impact on the economy, and the new calculations show the Recovery Act did less than originally projected.

Former Obama economic advisor on Cash for Clunkers

Austan Goolsbee, who until recently served as Obama’s chief economic advisor, says that he wouldn’t have backed the failed “Cash for Clunkers” program if he had to do it all over again:

Former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said Thursday that if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit passed in 2009 to stave off further economic distress.

“Because we didn’t know if [economic recovery was] going to be short or long,” the Obama administration tried measures to address both scenarios, Goolsbee explained on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“If you look at Cash for Clunkers or the first home buyer tax credit, they were geared to trying to shift [recovery] from 2010 into 2009. Given it’s taken this long [to recover], I don’t think you would do that short-run stuff,” Goolsbee added.

Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the administration misjudged how quickly the country could recover from the economic damage of the 2008 economic collapse.

“It has proved a longer, tougher ride than we thought at the time,” Goolsbee said. “At the time we come in, it’s an awful, awful moment. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the economy is in a tough spot. There was a debate, and it continues now, of ‘Can we come back quickly from this?’”

While many apologists of President Barack Obama still defend Cash for Clunkers program, it’s clear that it was a failure and has had adversed effects; including driving up the cost of used cars on the market.

Jobs bill still coming…once piece at a time

John Boehner wanted President Obama’s jobs bill in bite-sized chunks, versus being super-sized.  Obama wanted to ram the whole thing through in one big gulp.  Well, with the Senate effectively killing it, President Obama now vows to do just what Boehner wanted in the first place.

From CNN:

Shortly after his $447 billion jobs plan stalled Tuesday in the Senate, President Barack Obama vowed to break the broad initiative down into numerous, separate bills — potentially setting up even more showdowns between Democrats and Republicans on how to boost the economy and where to get the money to do so.

The Democrat-pushed bill failed Tuesday night to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate to proceed. A total of 50 members of the chamber supported the measure, while 49 cast ballots against it.

In a statement issued Tuesday night, Obama said that despite being an obvious defeat, “tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight.” He then outlined his intention to work with Senate Majority Harry Reid and produce several smaller bills derived from the bigger plan.

“In the coming days, members of Congress will have to take a stand on whether they believe we should put teachers, construction workers, police officers and firefighters back on the job,” Obama said in a statement released Tuesday night. “They’ll get a vote on whether they believe we should protect tax breaks for small business owners and middle-class Americans, or whether we should protect tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”

Same old ideas rejected in Obama’s jobs bill

As has been reported, President Obama’s jobs bill – you know, the one he’s been trying to rally support behind for the last month – took a significant hit in the Senate on Tuesday when that chamber voted 50-49 to block the bill.  That wasn’t even close to the 60 votes needed to override a filibuster and seems a clear sign that the bill is fated to die a horribly, fiery death.

The Hill is reporting that several centrist Democrats who were among those 49 votes have said they would have voted against the bill itself.  It seems safe to say that the 50 who voted to block debate on the bill are likely to also vote against it later.

The interesting part is how many Democrats who seem to side with the bill itself have concerns about whether the bill is really the right bill with our nation’s deficit being what it is.  Democrats.  Worried about the deficit.  Remember that for a long, long time.

Jobs are vitally important.  There really isn’t any such thing as a “jobless” recovery.  Without jobs, people will suffer for a while and the nation as a whole will suffer as a result.  However, jobs creation is something that the government simply can’t do and in reality, the President’s plan isn’t exactly designed to do.  Unfortunately, there are some problems with it.  For example, take the outline of the bill from  I’m going to address these points one by one.

Senate kills Obama’s jobs gimmick

An altered version of President Barack Obama’s latest stimulus gimmick, what he calls a “jobs plan,” failed to gain the 60 votes required in the Senate to bring it to final passage yesterday evening and is essentially dead — at least as one package:

President Obama received a slap from members of his own party Tuesday as the Senate voted 51-48 to block his $447 billion jobs package.

The jobs plan, which the president has spent much of the last month touting on a cross-country tour, fell well short of the 60 votes it needed to proceed.

The only Democrats to vote against the measure were Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), but a number of other centrists in the party indicated they would vote against the package even though they supported launching a debate on the measure.

All of the Republicans present on Tuesday voted against the motion.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote so he can, under Senate rules, bring the bill up for a vote some time in the future. But again, the bill as a single package is dead. Both House and Senate Republicans have been open to certain portions of the proposal and the White House has signaled that they’re open to passing it in pieces.

We’ll no doubt hear President Obama and his party claim that Republicans are blocking these historically bipartisan proposals, but that’s disingenuous, notes the AP:

He is waging a campaign, one in which nuance and context and competing responses don’t always fit in if they don’t help make the case.

Obama: Americans aren’t better off now than they were four years ago

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, host of Good Morning America, President Barack Obama admits that Americans are worse off now than when he took office — que the ads, boys — and says he is the underdog in 2012:

resident Obama on Monday took the extraordinary step of declaring himself the underdog in the 2012 race for the White House.

He acknowledged that voters are not better off than they were four years ago, and face a mortgage crisis, unemployment above 9 percent and a bumpy stock market.

“Well, I don’t think they’re better off than they were four years ago. They’re not better off than they were before Lehman’s collapse, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we’re going through,” Obama said in a television interview.

“Nobody’s going to deny we’re not where we need to be,” said Obama, who after a tough primary fight sailed to election in 2008 on the promise of hope and change, winning states no Democrat had won in a generation.

“I don’t mind,” Obama said. “I’m used to being the underdog.”

By casting himself in that role, Obama is managing expectations for his reelection bid with both the media and his political base, which has been unhappy with White House concessions to Republicans.

Um, Barack Obama was not the underdog when he ran for the United States Senate in 2004 and, while the race against John McCain in 2008 was contentious, he had momentum nearly the entire campaign. Don’t play that card here. Yeah, his poll numbers are poor and most Americans — either pluralities or slight majorities — believe that he shouldn’t be re-elected; but he is still leading most of his potential Republican opponents.

Obama: Americans have “gotten a little soft”

With the stock market posting its worst quarterly losses since the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis as it lost more than 12% of its value and the odds of a recession growing greater, President Barack Obama wants Americans to know that they’ve “gotten a little soft”:

President Barack Obama told a Florida TV station yesterday that the United States is facing economic difficulties because it has “gotten a little soft” during the last 20 years.

“This is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didnʼt have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades,” Obama said.

The fix is that “we need to get back on track,” he said, while urging Congress to pass his new $447 billion one-year stimulus bill.

Those comparisons between Obama and Jimmy Carter are just going to become more frequent as the comment bears resemblance to a speech the former president made during economic turmoil in the late 70s — hey, there’s a reason voters that were around to experience him still disapprove of him:

Obama to propose $1.5 trillion in tax hikes

News broke last night that President Barack Obama will propose a $3 trillion deficit reduction plan today, which includes $1.5 trillion in tax hikes. The plan comes at the same time he is proposing more than $460 billion in tax hikes to pay for his last stimulus plan:

President Obama will announce a proposal on Monday to tame the nation’s rocketing federal debt, calling for $1.5 trillion in new revenue as part of a plan to find more than $3 trillion in budget savings over a decade, senior administration officials said.

The proposal draws a sharp contrast with Republicans and amounts more to an opening play in the fall debate over the economy than another attempt to find common ground with the opposing party.
Obama will propose new taxes on the wealthy, a special new tax for millionaires, and eliminating or scaling back a variety of loopholes and deductions, officials say. About half of the tax savings would come from the expiration next year of the George W. Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy.

The tax hike on millionaires is being called the “Buffett Rule.” But as we’ve noted here before, that new tax hike, as populist as though it may be, will cover only a week of federal spending. And in practice, it hasn’t worked:

Mike Lee on Obama’s stimulus gimmicks

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) recently appeared on Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano to explain why President Barack Obama’s latest stimulus proposal won’t get the economy moving again; highlighting that his 2009 stimulus bill failed, as predicted:

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