If Obama’s plan for economic recovery sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Despite the 2009 Recovery Act’s failure to curtail unemployment or jumpstart the economic recovery as promised, Obama will reportedly propose another $300 billion stimulus that includes many of the same ideas:
“To put Americans to work, we’ll create millions of new green jobs and invest in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure,” Obama proclaimed in March 2008. “It’s an agenda that starts with providing a stimulus that will reach the most vulnerable Americans, including immediate relief to areas hardest hit by the housing crisis and a significant extension of unemployment insurance for those who are out of work.” …
In his speech Thursday, Obama’s prescriptions will be in the same mold as they were in 2008 — infrastructure spending; housing aid, including an expanded refinance program; and new measures to assist the unemployed, administration officials say. They will also include tax cuts to give extra cash to workers and spur hiring, as well as aid for states and localities. The cost of the programs is likely to be at least $200 billion, and a reluctant Congress would have to approve many of the ideas.
Half of the $300 billion will reportedly fund a year-long payroll tax cut extension, a reduction that does little to spur job growth because it doesn’t provide long-term stability for employers. To pay for it all, Obama will reportedly press Congress to pass a deficit-reduction plan that includes tax hikes.
But will the public tolerate yet another stimulus, even if it’s reportedly “deficit neutral”? Obviously, we won’t know all the details of the plan until Thursday, but so far, there’s nothing new here: more job training, unemployment assistance, housing aid. And after the last failed stimulus, are Americans willing to gamble away another $300 billion? If the first $1 trillion didn’t work, why should they expect this to?
Plus, is there any chance this plan will make it through Congress without a serious, drawn-out brawl? There are already plenty of reasons for conservatives to hate the plan, but apparently Obama didn’t even consult with GOP leadership about it beforehand. Not that it matters much to the president, who would probably love to force a showdown with congressional Republicans to drive home his campaign message that the GOP is the sole obstacle to recovery.