No Bang for Our Three Trillion Bucks

Yesterday the president proposed yet another stimulus — $50B in public works spending. Sound familiar? On one level, it seems simply absurd. Republicans lambasted the plan. Minority Whip Eric Cantor released a statement comparing this to “blindly throwing darts at the board.” But opposition may well be bipartisan: “Many congressional Democrats are also likely to be reluctant to boost expenditures and increase federal deficits just weeks before elections that will determine control of the Congress.” Not even the New York Times is impressed with Obama’s idea for an “infrastructure” bank:

But the notion of a government-run bank — indeed, a government-run anything — is bound to prove contentious during an election year in which voters are already furious over bank bailouts and over what many perceive as Mr. Obama pursuing a big government agenda. Even before the announcement Monday, some Republicans were expressing caution.

The assertion that a $50B program, after multiple stimulus plans, will improve our economic fortunes will strike some as nearly comic. As the Wall Street Journal editors observe, “never before has government spent so much and intervened so directly in credit allocation to spur growth, yet the results have been mediocre at best. In return for adding nearly $3 trillion in federal debt in two years, we still have 14.9 million unemployed.” The editors offer this explanation:

The Administration rejected marginal-rate tax cuts that worked in the 1960s and 1980s because they would have helped the rich, in favor of a Keynesian spending binge that has stimulated little except government. More broadly, Democrats purposely used the recession as a political opening to redistribute income, reverse the free-market reforms of the Reagan era, and put government at the commanding heights of economic decision-making.

Or more succinctly: Refudiate Obamanomics!

And to top it off, Obama showed his peevish side one more time, claiming that his critics “talk about me like a dog.” No, they talk about him like he is an increasingly desperate and out of touch liberal pol whose main obsession remains his own image.