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Another good stimulus graphic

This one from my paper:

GR2010021800343.gif

Full story here. I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that the structure of the stimulus, and the fact that it all passed at once, has made it hard for the administration to explain what it's done in its first year.

Passing more than $200 billion in tax cuts and the largest infrastructure investment in recent history and a bill that basically kept the lights on in statehouses and schools all across the country is actually rather a lot for a young administration. But while all those policies have constituencies and narratives of their own, they were wrapped into a different argument -- stimulus, which was in turn sold as job creation -- and that argument is really dependent on how people feel about the economy, not what was in Obama's bill, or even what Obama says about his bill.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 18, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Stimulus  
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Comments

For a president who is supposed to prize straight talk, why couldn't he say when the stimulus passed, "This is the best we could get through congress, but it is too small and has too great a focus on tax cuts as opposed to stimulus spending to actually lower the unemployment rate. If we really want to address jobs, we need to pass a second bill on the same scale as the stimulus that is focused exclusively on creating jobs through the government creating demand."

I know its a fantasy for politicians to tell the truth, but still.....

Posted by: srw3 | February 18, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that the structure of the stimulus, and the fact that it all passed at once, has made it hard for the administration to explain what it's done in its first year."

Again with the condescentional explainations:

Didn't you whippersnappers try this trick with the healthcare failure? "It really is a great plan, just the Great Communicators in this administration are failing at explaining their great plan in simple enough details that the Rubes can understand."

How'd that one work out for ya's?

Posted by: Mary42 | February 18, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Cute graphics in your paper, though.

Really like the use of the color blue.

If you're saying it was only the stimulus funds that kept the lights on in the schools across the nation, what's gonna happen next year then, since the stimulus money only paid the electric bills, and didn't create any plan or investment model for raising funds for the future?

Posted by: Mary42 | February 18, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Ditto all those public service jobs "saved" by the one-time injection of borrowed capital.

Posted by: Mary42 | February 18, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

You make a valid point, but one must consider the working relationship factor in all of this.

Had the president done as you suggested, he would have been correct. He would also have set fire to each and every line between himself and the Hill.

In effect, the president would have attributed - correctly - the shortcomings of this legislation solely on the legislative branch of government. To do so would have destroyed any and all cooperative efforts, what few there have been, between the White House and Congress.

Not only would the president have had the Conservatives (a breed apart and well to the right of the Republicans) screaming about a lack of bipartisanship, but his own Democratic allies on the Hill, whether Blue Dog or liberal, would have told him in no uncertain terms that they will not accept (even though they should) the responsibility for this - or any other significant piece - of legislation.

Mr. Obama needed to build bridges, even rickety ones. He most certainly could not burn them.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 18, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Markinjc: Mr. Obama needed to build bridges, even rickety ones. He most certainly could not burn them.

No, he would only be setting a fire under the conservadems to get with the party platform. These are the guys that are going down if only ineffectual things get done, since they are in the swing districts. Besides, now both Obama and the dem controlled congress looks bad. If he gently speaks the truth about what the legislation will and will not do, at least he saves his credibility and is not open to repiglican attacks of "the stimulus didn't work." I think the real mistake he made was not proposing a much larger stimulus, so that when the inevitable watering down happens, the final package would be bigger. He has the disappointing habit of bargaining with himself before presenting to the opposition.

"Not only would the president have had the Conservatives (a breed apart and well to the right of the Republicans) screaming about a lack of bipartisanship," --
This is the response no matter what Obama does, so he might as well do the right thing.

Posted by: srw3 | February 18, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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