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White House: first stimulus working, but jobs package is needed

By Alec MacGillis
As the House was preparing to pass a $150 billion bill for additional job creation, reporters on Wednesday evening pressed White House officials on why the country needs another fiscal boost even as the Obama administration argues that the first stimulus, with $787 billion, is doing the trick.

White House economist Jared Bernstein, stimulus overseer Ed DeSeve and press secretary Robert Gibbs assembled reporters to tout the impact of the $787 billion stimulus, saying it had helped turn the economy around even though much of its force will only start to be felt in the coming months.

But if the stimulus was working as planned, reporters asked, why were congressional Democrats and the White House talking about a new "jobs" package? After his recent "jobs summit," Obama announced that he would push for tens of billions more to jolt the economy.

The White House trio went back and forth, pointing to graphs showing just how big the job losses have been this year, and noting that the $787 billion stimulus, even if working as planned, could not fill the $2 trillion hole in the economy created by the recession. But was that not an acknowledgment that the original stimulus should have been larger -- an admission that the administration made at the time the stimulus passed, but has shied from since?

After all, the worst of the year's job losses were in January and February, exactly when the administration was crafting the stimulus -- it was not as if the really bad job news only arrived after the bill passed. Many liberal critics of the administration have argued that it should have aimed higher at the outset, knowing that conservative Democrats and the few moderate Republicans who voted for the bill would bargain the opening bid down a bit as a price for their support.

If the opening bid had been around $1 trillion -- as it has since emerged that White House economist Christina Romer was arguing was the necessary amount -- then the White House might have ended up with a bigger final sum.

The officials did not disagree that the package should have been bigger. But they argued that they did the best they could. "We got what we could get," said Gibbs. "$787 billion was the political load that could be carried. That's the truth."

By Alec MacGillis  |  December 16, 2009; 11:47 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Economy  
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When do the Banks mail me my Stimulus money.? When I pay my Income taxes this year should I send the check to Wells Fargo Bank ... or China ? I'd rather pay China, they seem semi-honest. The banks are sleazy thieves

Posted by: wasaUFO | December 19, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

It's now wonder stimulus one failed it was all full of demcoratic pork.

Posted by: farmsnorton | December 19, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Given that no jobs have have actually been "saved" or created except for union jobs in the auto industry, or government union jobs in the states, it is obvious where we are heading. The principal reason why we no longer have a manufacturing base is union corruption and intransigence on work rules and pay. We just had to save GM and Chrysler's union jobs, but they'll both be bankrupt (again) within 2-3 years. It's amazing to me that the Japanese auto plants in the American south are doing quite nicely, thank you, without UAW pay scales and work rules. The agenda of the Obama administration is national unionization for a new world order: "workers of the world, unite". Obama should look, however, at the footprint he's following: Chavez' Venezuela is rapidly gpoing bankrupt; is this our fate as well?

Posted by: apberusdisvet | December 17, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

As one engaged in the environmental industry, I can attest that the 'stimulus program' has held up or slowed projects that would otherwise be underway. Once the government holds out a 'free lunch', both private and governmental (local and state) entities wait to see if they can get a share of the action rather than proceeding as originally planned. The first stimulus program has slowed the recovery that would have taken place on its own as competitive forces increased once the recession hit. Additional stimulus packages will only make this worse - not to mention the increase in national debt.

Posted by: Thenviron | December 17, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

A jobs package will help for a little while, but you can't ship jobs overseas and sustain an economy. Period.

Posted by: afsisca | December 17, 2009 6:01 AM | Report abuse

How about this: Stop handing out 125,000 new green cards (permanent work permits) and so-called tempory work visas every month.

If I were one ot the unemployed/underemployed and knew just how the the U.S. governemnt was undermining my employment opportunities, the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington would have a hell to pay from which they would never-ever recover!

Posted by: paulkarmi | December 17, 2009 5:35 AM | Report abuse

But the job package does not contain provisions for the non-exportable sexy jobs such as caulking and installing insulation, that the President told us this week were the jobs of the future for Americans.

It is understandable that there were no provision for the jobs of the 21st century in computer technology and using computer technology, since these jobs are no longer for Americans, but how could the job bill leave out the jobs for Americans in the 21st century of caulking and installing insulation.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 17, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

The dull witted clodhoppers in Washington are going to make things even worse. We need jobs. The government jobs "created or saved" by this boondoggle will be gobbled up by public employees and state and local governments in a feeding frenzy over pay increases, "cost of living" increases, "step" increases, and benefit increases. The 40 trillion dollar black hole that composes public employee retirement benefits, as much as half of it unfunded, will consume the $1.5 billion like so much spare change. It will have no effect on overall unemployment, but it WILL leave an even higher bill for the unemployed almost immediately when these parasite come back to the feed trough for more...

What this country actually needs is the return of those outsourced jobs and that wont cost the government one dime. All they need to do is reimpose trade tariffs, impose a punitive tax on all outsourced goods and services (like a $5 per U.S. service call handled by offshore call centers; a 100% tariff on foreign assembled computers and other electronics, etc.), and a stiff fee for foreign guest workers - something like a $100,000 annual tax for each and every H1-B worker. We all know that they are unnecessary and merely displace older U.S. hi tech workers and workers with families who wont work 80 hour weeks forever. If Microsoft really needs some expertise that only an imported worker can provide, a $100,000 or $200,000 annual tax is entirely reasonable and at least part of that can go towards the education and training of a U.S. citizen replacement for that foreign workers as-soon-as-possible.

Of course, no one expect the Congress or this White House to do anything so rational and moral as this. These rat-bags have their snouts poked into the corporate feed trough, up to their ears. They will stay n that position right up until the country completely falls apart and they feel their precious skin threatened, when they will call for "law and order", gun control, more government spying on citizens, and further erode our rights. These jerks are pathetic swine - re-elect no one.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 17, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Very simple really, why stimulus III is needed, the save the jobs of as many Democrats in Congress as possible in next year's elections. Relatively few jobs will be created, mainly among unions that are one of the politically most powerful of special interest groups in the Democratic party. Hardly any jobs in most of the private sector will be created.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 17, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

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