Friday, February 6, 2009

Yes, irresponsible indeed

President Obama says bad economic numbers mean the "stimulus" package must be passed, and passed now:

"President Barack Obama decried as "inexcusable and irresponsible" the delay of his economic recovery legislation in Congress with an estimated 3.6 million Americans losing their jobs since the recession began....The president named an outside economic team of advisers as the nation dealt with more bad news in the unemployment report for January. Employers slashed payrolls by 598,000, the most since the end of 1974, propelling the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. The rate is the highest since September 1992. "These numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual while millions of Americans are being put out of work," Obama said bluntly. "Now is the time for Congress to act."

Well, of course, many folks agree that there needs to be action. But the problem is that those same folks think the bill, as constituted, is a bad bill. Obama agrees it has problems; yet his position seems to be that the problems are so stark that we have to pass even questionable legislation immediately, so that we can say we "did something."

"Don't just stand there, do something" however is not a great way to go about thinking and doing, is not a recipe for success, and most people know it. Conservatives should keep making that point.

UPDATE: furthermore, Rich Lowry today at NRO makes a very good point as to why Obama's arguments right now are failing concerning this legislation:

"As far as political arguments go, “I won” has its power—provided it’s made on behalf of an agenda ratified by the American electorate. But Obama didn’t campaign on a sprawling, nearly $1 trillion new spending plan. If he had pledged in October to double federal domestic discretionary spending in a matter of weeks—including increasing the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts by a third, spending hundreds of millions more on federal buildings and throwing tens of billions on every traditional liberal priority from job training to Pell Grants—he’d have been hard-pressed to win at all. The president should read the transcript of the third presidential debate. He claimed his program represented “a net spending cut.” He called himself “a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches.” He added, “We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don’t work.”

Republicans should pound away on this point, as well.