President Obama's National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers, appearing on "Meet the Press" this morning, predicted middle-class tax cuts would put money in the pockets of working Americans "within weeks" of the passage of stimulus package -- at the same time he also predicted that the nation's overall economic problems won't be solved overnight.
MR. GREGORY: Let's talk about what can be achieved this year, this calendar year. It's a big concern, you want that up-front stimulus to jump-start the economy. The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report this week, and it was also echoed by a research report done by the investment bank Goldman Sachs. And we'll put a portion of that Goldman Sachs report on the screen: "Preliminary estimates imply that of the $825 billion Congress is considering, only $250 billion will make it into the economy in the current calendar year. This could still change as the package works its way through Congress, but these estimates highlight the political and practical challenges in enacting an effective fiscal package, particularly in 2009." Only $250 billion worth of impact this year. Don't you want more of a jump-start?
DR. SUMMERS: This is something we've been very focused on. There's certain adjustments that are taking place in the legislation. The president has committed, through a letter from his O and B director, Peter Orszag, that three-quarters of this $825 billion program will be spent out within the first 18 months. And we're doing everything we can. But frankly, we're not going to rush things to the point of being wasteful. But the tax measures are going to change withholding checks within weeks after they're enacted. Cities across the country are going to see help so they don't have to lay off teachers or cops within weeks after this--after the program is passed. So yes, speed is a crucial concern. But you know, David, there is something else we have to recognize, which is these problems weren't made in a day or a week or a month or even a year, and they're not going to get solved that fast. So even as we move to be as rapid as we can in jolting the economy and giving it the push forward it needs, we also have to be mindful of having the right kind of plan that will carry us forward over time. That's why the productive aspects of the investments the president's making--doubling renewable energy, for example, modernizing 10,000 schools--are so essential.
President Obama made a pledge to America -- "Yes, We Can." The American electorate responded to that call with a resounding "Yes, We Will." Republicans in Congress, lead by blubbering John Boehner, are responding with "No, We Won't," as they stand ready to do all they can to block the passage of the stimulus.
Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh has been beating the drum loudly in the conservative media, pledging to do all he can to insure that Obama's efforts to restore America fail.
"I want him to fail. If his agenda is a far-left collectivism -- some people say socialism -- as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?"
...[H]is stimulus is aimed at re-establishing 'eternal' power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle..."
The stimulus was forged with advice from a bipartisan panel of economic experts:
DR. SUMMERS: [...] That's why we surveyed a range of economists. We talk--and this is something the president insists on--to a lot of experts, both Democrat and Republican. And you know, frankly, some of them think the stimulus should be larger, some of them think the stimulus should be, should be smaller. President balanced the different views and I think came to the approach that we've taken, and came to an approach that's balanced in another way. It's balanced between very substantial new investments that are referred to between very important protections to prevent teachers and cops from being laid off, and also--and this is a substantial part of the package--tax cuts, because we recognize that we've got to help households to be able to spend, and businesses.
The stimulus package, as it stands now, is already a balanced approach taking into account both Democratic and Republican viewpoints. But the Republicans in Congress, in concert with conservative media mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh and his band of linking wannabees, stand lock-step and arm-in-arm to defeat the stimulus package when it reaches Congress.
They aren't happy with a compromise approach. They want to "stop liberalism" and all of the new administration's efforts to fund education, for example:
Boehner and Republicans have called for more tax cuts instead of the Democrats' plan to primarily use federal money to help states and to fund infrastructure projects as well as energy, education and healthcare programs.
Funding education, in addition to investing in America's economic future, preserves and creates jobs in the education field. But since funding education is a plank of the Democratic platform, and therefore part and parcel to the "liberalism" so hated by the Republican ideologues, watch for the Congressional Republicans to fight Obama tooth and nail over the stimulus packages' passage next week.
"No, We Can't" has been the loudest battle cry in Washington for the last 8 years, and if Rush Limbaugh and the power-hungry Republicans in Congress get their way, the nation's current spiral downward will continue for another 4 years.
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