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White House Cheat Sheet: Polling the Stimulus



Photo by Mark Wilson -- Getty Images Photo

Political polling is equal parts science and art. The numbers are the numbers but what they mean is almost always open to interpretation.

Take a new survey conducted by Gallup for USA Today on Americans' feelings regarding President Obama's stimulus plan, which is wending its way through the Senate this week.

Asked whether Congress should approve Obama's plan as is, pass it only after major changes, or reject it, there was a clear sentiment to pass the bill but a major divide on whether it should be significantly amended or not.

Thirty-eight percent said the bill should be passed "as proposed" while 37 percent said it needed "major changes" before it is approved by Congress. (Just 17 percent said the plan should be rejected.)

House Republicans immediately jumped on the numbers as evidence that their unanimous vote against the stimulus plan last week was the right move. Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) issued a release featuring the numbers that blared: "Support Sinking as Less Than Two-in-Five Americans Support Obama's Plan."

Sen. John McCain -- apparently not ready to become Obama's favorite Senator -- sent out an email via his Country First political action committee urging his supporters to sign a petition stating their opposition to the current stimulus plan. "The proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans," McCain wrote.

The White House clearly sees things differently, believing that the bill is -- for all the spin around it -- a much needed job creation tool.

"I think people have lost sight of what the legislation does," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in his daily briefing on Tuesday. "It creates -- we think it will save or create more than 3 million jobs and get our economy moving again."

That sentiment is being echoed by a series of ads being run by a coalition of liberal groups urging Republican senators to vote for the legislation. Brad Woodhouse, the head of Americans United for Change, one of the groups leading the ad campaign, has described House Republicans' opposition as "political suicide." (For a rebuttal of that particular comment, make sure to check out Stu Rothenberg's latest column in Roll Call -- unfortunately subscriber-only.)

The political outcome will depend largely on what happens to the economy in the immediate future.

If Obama's plan, which will almost certainly become law in the next few weeks, does produce some momentum for an economic turnaround over the next six months to a year (whether it's coincidence or not) then the White House -- and congressional Democrats will look very smart.

If, on the other hand, Obama's plan is not perceived to move the economy in the right direction or is seen as yet another big spending bill with limited real-world effect, then Republicans will be well positioned heading into the 2010 midterm elections.

The not knowing is what makes politics so unpredictable -- and so great.

Sked Stuff: President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (a.k.a. "the luckiest man in Washington) will speak this morning on their plans to limit executive compensation -- a political winner if ever there was one.

News Nugget: As soon as former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew his name from consideration to head the Department of Health and Human Services, the speculation about who would replace him began. Welcome to Washington. Here's the short list: Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt and John Podesta, the head of Obama's transition effort and White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton. Sebelius spokeswoman Beth Martino told the Fix that the Kansas governor "will continue to do what she can to help President Obama fix our economy, improve our health care system and get America back on track." Does that include serving as HHS Secretary? If it does, Senate Democrats lose their top-tier recruit for Sen. Sam Brownback's (R) open seat.

Coleman Wins One: The three-judge panel charged with deciding the winner of the Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken threw the former GOP incumbent a lifeline in a ruling yesterday that said 4,800 rejected absentee ballots could be re-examined to see whether they should be included in the count. Franken had sought to limit that universe to 650 votes while Coleman wanted more than 11,000 rejected ballots to be included. Spin aside, Coleman trails Franken by 225 votes so any time more ballots might be counted it gives the trailing candidate hope. How many of these ballots ultimately are counted -- and, more importantly, how they split between Franken and Coleman -- remains to be seen.

The Daschle Effect: The National Republican Congressional Committee is moving quickly to capitalize on the withdrawals of Daschle and chief performance officer nominee Nancy Killefer due to past tax problems -- tying those decisions to past tax liens on a business owned by Scott Murphy, the Democratic nominee in the special election in New York's 20th district. "It appears that Scott Murphy is taking tax evasion lessons from the Washington tax-dodging crowd," said Ken Spain, communications director of the NRCC. It's an interesting tact to take; national Republicans are looking for any message that catches hold with the American public. Can this be one?

Two-Fer for Senate Democrats: Lost amid the withdrawals of former Daschle and Killefer on Tuesday were two pieces of good news for Senate Democrats: the nomination of Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) as commerce secretary and Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's decision to run for the open seat in the Show Me State. In New Hampshire, Democrats have made significant gains over the last two elections (Obama carried the state by nine points) and the party is trying to coalesce behind Rep. Paul Hodes who will formally announce his candidacy later this week. Carnahan is the heir to a strong political legacy in Missouri and immediately becomes the favorite to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R).

Click It!: As regular Fix readers know, we believe Bruce Springsteen to be not the God but certainly a god. But, we are fair-weather fans when compared to the Post's incomparable Liz Clarke who has been to more than 100 shows by the Boss -- the first way back in 1978. Clarke writes of how her love was tested by Springsteen's decision to play halftime at the Super Bowl in this week's Washington Post magazine -- a piece you absolutely must read if you've ever rocked out in the privacy of your own bedroom to "Glory Days." (Ok, maybe that's just us.)

Say What?: "I think it's fair to say that I don't always get my most favorable coverage on Fox, but that's part of how a democracy is supposed to work. We're not all supposed to be in lock step here." -- President Obama during an interview with Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace Tuesday.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 4, 2009; 6:02 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Cracks in the Cult of Competence?
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Comments

Here we go again....

Enough with the tax cuts to the wealthy... what we need are jobs!

Bipartisanship is great; but, please; the Democrats need to grow a pair!

Here are two ideas:

a) Call it the JOBS bill. People think that this is another bailout to the banks! This is all about JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

b) Stand up to the Republicans! Working with the Republicans doesn't mean that the Democrats have to do all that they ask for. Let them fillibuster! Not the easy way; the "Mr. Smith Goes to Wasghington" way! They won't do it!

Anyway, good luck to us all; we'll need it

Posted by: WA_User10 | February 5, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

--"all these hot-shot reporters that are chomping at the bit to get President Obama failing at something...
they should all stake out AIG's and JPCHASE's (as well as other companies bailed out recently)--

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse "--

Good point. Anyone hear any Wall Street CEO anywhere admit that they messed up? Ok how about a money manager? Anyone? Wow! All that money lost - and yet not one individual made a bad decision.

PS - Given the number of people involved - they can't all be idiots - so if someone knows of someone who owned up to their mistake, please post here a link or something.

Thanks.

Posted by: DonJasper | February 4, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

DrainYou -

You have the option of sending additional checks (or cash) to the U.S. Treasury. What's stopping you?

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Every time Barack Obama opens his mouth he offers ice cream. Fifty percent of the people react like nine-year-olds; they want ice cream. The other fifty percent know they're going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess.

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't like all of this U.S. is run on the basis of polling -- it's ludicrous, the public doesn't know that much about the ins and outs (and probably doesn't have one third of the real story) of these complex economic stimulus packages.

Why can't elected representatives make decisions based on sound thinking, good communications and high morality?

My belief is that free market economies may be doomed to boom and bust cycles and that government may want to rethink their role in such events. Am I crazy?

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 4, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama need to stop with trying to be bipartisan.
1. He should fire Robert Gates
2. Get rid of The Republican Tranportation Sec
3. Withdraw Gregg's appointment as Commerce Sec

The Republicans are NOT INTO OBAMA. They will never follows his agenda and Gates will try to delay the pull out from Iraq. The Republicans want Obama to fail and I would not trust them one bit. He does not need them anyway.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 4, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Bailout vs Stimulus - who picks these terms and why?

Bailout (negative)
Stimulus (positive)

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=213

Hmmmmm....

What's the next hand-out going to be termed, "Climax"?

Posted by: davidmwe | February 4, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

(((( falling off chair laughing )))

well said DrainYou.

Those damn hippies!
I KNEW IT !!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I still find it amazing how the GOP continues to be able to con some of the blue collar Americans (mostly in the south) who always parrot their calls for more tax cuts. Apparently they don't have an internet connection or they only listen to Druggy Rush and Faux News because if they ever read the fine print they'd notice that when the GOP talks tax cuts they're talking about tax cuts for the wealthiest 1-2% of Americans, Big Corporations and Big Oil.


They've become used to blaming others. The Repuglican leadership (Rush, Faux News etc) is very, very skilled at identifying scapegoats so that almost all of their blue collar supporters have someone else to blame for their soory state of affairs i.e.: "liberals, tax-and-spend Democrats, hippies, communists, immigrants, gays". It's an easy way to avoid facing reality. - "Gay people drove my property values up! And Mexicans took my 50.00 per hour lettuce-picking job from me! And the Demoncrats take all my tax money and use some of it for THINGS I DON'T NEED! And the hippies made us lose Vietnam! And the Communists...well...not sure what they did...and the liberals killed my cousin's baby after I got her pregnant! And the immigrants! How dare they have the chance to earn the same quality of life and hope for their childrens' future that I have for me and my family"!


Most of the average GOPer's still haven't figured out that wealth doesn't ever trickledown to them.


It's like a shell game to the Repuglican leadership, using diversionary tactics to steer the people away from seeing the real problems. Unfortunately for them, they're starting to lose that game nowdays.


Posted by: DrainYou | February 4, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

like this one:

18. S.AMDT.104 to H.R.1 To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow an above-the-line deduction against individual income tax for interest on indebtedness and for State sales and excise taxes with respect to the purchase of certain motor vehicles.
Sponsor: Sen Mikulski, Barbara A. [MD] (introduced 2/2/2009) Cosponsors (7)
Latest Major Action: 2/3/2009 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 104 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse


well, the trick here is to read the 120 amendments.

The House did 11 amendments which addresses some of it.
The Senate has 109 amendments submitted (as of one minute ago)

Happy reading !

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

What's in the stimulus bill? Congress is acting exactly how we might expect a lottery winner to behave during their first few weeks in the millionaire bracket.

David Obey of Wisconsin, architect of the bill, added $2 billion for national parks which was illegal since his son is the top lobbyist for that group. Trimming brush and replacing boards won't help the economy much.

What most people don't understand is that most of this funding is on top of the normal funding measures passed every year. So most of these programs are piling on to already existing budgets.

There's $345 million for Agriculture Department computers, $650 million for TV converter boxes, $15 billion for college scholarships — worthy, perhaps, but not likely to put many Americans back to work quickly.

There's $1 billion to deal with Census problems and $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building next year. The Senate would devote $2.1 billion to pay off a looming shortfall in public housing accounts. There's $870 million to combat the flu.

And talk about stimulating, there's $400 million to slow the spread HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia. Apparently Congress has figured out what the unemployed will be doing. They'd prefer to give them shots instead of new jobs.

Even some Democrats, like Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, think the $3.5 billion in the stimulus package devoted to health research would be better spent on additional brick and mortar infrastructure projects.

Posted by: CaptainQ | February 4, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The problem is the name of the bill. If they renamed it the "Farm Bill" its size would immediately be doubled, Tom Coburn would vote against it and it would arrive on Obama's desk with ninety plus yes votes.

The spin that is emerging is of a bill being loaded up with special interest pork that has nothing to do with stimulus. That is not a winner for Obama. Behind the scenes they need to figure out what has to be done to get to sixty votes. The Republicans are bluffing but need acknowledgment, the real worry are the moderate Democrats from reddish states. New bill in hand he needs a public photo op with the new "pork out" bill and its Republican and Democratic sponsors declaring a joint victory over the old way of earmarks and the new spirit of bipartisanship.

Posted by: caribis | February 4, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It was globalization and free trade that got us into this mess. We have shipped jobs and factories offshore and replaced American workers in this country with cheap foreign guest workers. Now, Obama even wants to abandon the pathetic, weak "buy American" provisions of the proposed stimulus package. No! ANy stimulus package needs to have some regulations that bring an end to the free trade madness or it doesn't deserve to pass. Kill this pig! Write your COngressman.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 4, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

idea for the day:

all these hot-shot reporters that are chomping at the bit to get President Obama failing at something...
they should all stake out AIG's and JPCHASE's (as well as other companies bailed out recently)--
stake out the CEO(s), corporate officers and the corporate offices
to see if suddenly, there's a remodel job being done, etc.
Or-- get a chance to interview inside and see how many $87,000 area rugs have been bought.
You know, the BLING.
Hell, reporters are getting so "blatant", why not EVEN land interviews with all the trophy wives of all the CEO(s) and see if they are mad as hell because they can't have their monthly/yearly overhauls!!!

'Cause funny thing, I really haven't heard what the first part of the stimulus has really done, have you? Chase is my bank....and by golly, I haven't EVEN gotten a letter in the mail saying "hi, come in, we can re-do your loan" !!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

hey now, Gallup polls are great fun aren't they.
They go to the truck stop off i-40, with a couple six packs of beer and wait for all the public to roll in so they can ask them questions.
It's true. I've been there and that is what they do.
((( hearty smiles )))

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50 –

Do you know a good place to go for radiation damage therapy?

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

TO: mark_in_austin and vbhoomes

Thank you both for your "official" confirmation that the message is getting through to Team Obama...

...about the dangers of the Bush-era "extrajudicial punishment network" of "multi-agency action" programs...

...that continue to endanger the economy and civil liberties...

...and harm innocent Americans by deployment and use of radiation weaponry (a/k/a "directed energy weapons"):

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

One more point, "mark":

WaPo is smart enough not to let paid trolls censor their blogs by abusing the "report abuse" button.


Posted by: scrivener50 | February 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

mark in austin writes
"I am assuming that DOD which is supposed to get an 8% increase aside from war costs could get a bigger continuing resolution if the armed forces are expanded to allow the enlistment of hundreds of thousands who will be seeing them as the safety valve as in every recession."

Interesting angle. It has been discussed before as an option; does the stimulus bill address direct hiring through programs like the military, peace corps, teach for america, etc. as a way to address unemployment? Granted it might create thousands of jobs rather than the tens or hundreds of thousands needed.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

President Obama could stimulate hiring of Americans quickly and cheaply with an executive order that canceled the issuance of H1B work permits to foreign nationals until the DOW again reaches 11,000. That action would also encourage economic growth by compensating well-educated American engineers at market rates.

Posted by: ColdLightning | February 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Contrary to what the Wacko Republicans think, Obama's supporters do not think he is the Messiah."

Unfortunely though, he does.

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I spent 20 years as a political opinion pollster, and I’m a bit surprised the enormously respected Gallup Organization would ask a flawed question like “Do you think Congress should pass Obama’s economic stimulus plan basically as Barrack Obama has proposed it, pass it but only after major changes, or reject this plan?”

I don’t know what President Obama proposed for the stimulus plan, and I certainly don’t know what ‘major changes’ are meant. And, I'm quite sure a random sample of the public is no better informed than this old political junkie.

Many respondents probably thought Barrack Obama proposed the pork-filled stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives. Those who selected this response may have meant simply they supported the president, whatever he proposed. Or, maybe they meant they supported the House version of the plan. It’s impossible to tell.

Interpreting what those who chose “pass it but only after major changes” is even more problematical. This response almost certainly meant one thing to most Democrats and some Independents (i.e., ‘get rid of the pork’) and quite another to most Republicans and some Independents (i.e., ‘have more tax cuts and less government spending’).

Finally, I have no way of knowing even what respondents who selected "reject this plan" meant. Did they mean reject the House plan, any future House-Senate compromise plan or any plan proposed by President Obama? No one can tell.

George Gallup himself taught us questions like this – which can be interpreted differently by different respondents -- tell us absolutely nothing at all. Worse still, they can easily be misinterpreted as meaningful, as Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Rice’s did when claiming, “Support Sinking as Less Than Two-in-Five Americans Support Obama’s Plan”. That self-serving interpretation is clearly absurd. The public was better served when the media pointed out such fallacies rather than simply reprinting press release headlines.

Alas, the days when the media actually analyzed events are gone forever, as are days of bipartisan statesmanship.


Posted by: JohnInTexas | February 4, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes, just press the "abuse" button every time Scrivener posts his own web site here.

Take a look at my 10:37A post. Don't you think DOD is going to report, unsurprisingly, that enlistments are way up, and then need a major increase in funding? And won't that be a good thing, later this year, when that happens?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 4, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Its nice to see that your local insane asylum has enough taxpayer money to hand out lap top computers to Scrivener50 and the rest of the residents.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 4, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

This was posted on the Blue Hampshire Blog today:

Hodes to run for U.S. Senate (+)
by: Congressman Paul Hodes
Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:36:23 AM EST


For the last two years, I have been honored to serve the people of New Hampshire and fight for Granite Staters. I have been proud to stand up with Anne Marie Morse to pass Michelle's Law to make sure no college student will lose their health care when they need it the most.

I am proud that I fought to pass legislation to create the Northern Border Development Commission to help create jobs for the North Country.

I am proud that I stood up to create a veterans advocate in the VA to stand up for veterans like Chris Howe who needed an advocate to help get out of Walter Reed and home to his family.

I am proud to have helped thousands of Granite Staters who needed someone to stand up for them.

It is with the stories of people like Anne Marie Morse, Chris Howe, and thousands of New Hampshire families struggling in this difficult economy in mind that I announce today that I will run for the United States Senate in 2010 to continue to keep our state and our nation moving forward.

I want to continue my service to the people of New Hampshire and continue to stand up for middle class families. I will continue to work every day for the people of New Hampshire's second district and I will work in the future to give New Hampshire the representation it deserves in the United States Senate.

In the coming months, I will have a more formal announcement of my candidacy. For all of the people of New Hampshire, I look forward to meeting you, listening to your ideas, and hearing your stories as we discuss how I can stand up for you.

Posted by: dg6640a | February 4, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This Gallup poll on the stimulus plan "as is" is totally bogus.

Only a handful of folks in the entire US have any idea what's in it, much less read the 600+ page opus. Give me a break. At best the folks polled are relying on the opinions of broadcast bloviators who haven't read the bill either.

It is doubtful more that a few members of Congress have read it cover to cover. To ask the public whether a bill IT HAS NEVER READ should be passed, passed with changes, or rejected is the height of silliness.

If the poll asked whether we need a jobs bill with no tax cuts for fat cuts and which caps executive compensation at $500K or so, the approval numbers would probably be at 85%.

What's more important than this invaild Gallup poll is that the Nation's governors, including Alaska Gov. Mrs. Todd Phalin, generally support the bill. As Rev. Wright might say, the Gallup poll is "nullified."

Shput out to BHO and his most emotionally invested (that's a good thing, we guess)supporter, Senator Claire McCaskill, for their continued efforts to pass a jobs bill for the United States of America.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 4, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

3 million jobs saved/created costs 900 billion dollars? That's $300,000 per job....Average job in the US contributes $70000~ to GDP. They're almost paying more per job than the limit they're giving to Bank Executives...ha.

Posted by: Kups | February 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Chris, how is politics revolving around our economic collapse...Great?

Really?

Posted by: nddicola | February 4, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

While subscribing to SOME of the GOP ideology (states rights, small-enough BUT efficient/effective government), I am not averse to taxes on the whole. Yes they suck, but does anyone else see through this dog-and-pony show they were putting on about Daschle? If he were a Republican they would have had his back all the way through it claiming his taxes were too high to begin with or that he should have received tax-cuts. How hypocritical. I'm sorry, I am not a Democrat cut from the Pelosi-Reid ilk, I am a pragmatist, but I'm DONE with the GOP. Already they are trying to write history about Obama while being obstructionists to getting anything done. They only love America when they are running it, otherwise they are trying to ruin it just enough to get re-elected into power. The GOP needs to reinvent itself or become forever irrelevant in my book. At my job, when something does not work (i.e. tax cuts to the wealthy stimulating the economy), we go with another idea (Obama's and the Democrats' plan, with heartily debated items and some pork cut out hopefully). When you do the same thing and expect different results, that's just insanity.

Posted by: SteadyState | February 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

TEAM OBAMA:

A ROOT CAUSE OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS VERY WELL MAY BE A COORDINATED ARRAY OF "MULTI-AGENCY ACTION" PROGRAMS THAT COMPRISE THE BUSH-ERA "EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK."

THESE PROGRAMS HAVE DECIMATED THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES.

THE ECONOMY CAN'T RECOVER UNTIL THESE ROGUE PROGRAMS ARE DISMANTLED.

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens

OR (if link is corrupted):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 4, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Can whoever is against the stimulus bill give me a job?
Please.
Posted by: Canonera

Well said!

Posted by: optimyst | February 4, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

They need to get out tax cuts for the wealthy, in-tax cuts for the middle class and poor . Relief for small business, this can be done by getting some quick infrastructure work going. Windmills could be one opportunity. This would mean immediate jobs, large insulation and energy conservation packages going . No military infrastructure spending. This is pork for Kay Bailey Hutchinson who has a lot of bases in Texas.We need immediate relief for homeless,poor, and laidoff and start producing some jobs. It is good to see that AOL-Time took a big hit. They are at the bottom of the exorbitant salaries paid to sports figures which is taking Television away from anybody that cannot afford $200 a month for cable.

Posted by: majorteddy | February 4, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Brad, if the "stimulus" were limited to

1] extension of high multiplier effect "relief" programs like food stamps and medicaid;

2] direct contracting on renovating federal highway bridges, tunnels; and addressing the federal responsibility for the nations' inland waterways [dams and levees]; and upgrading and weatherizing fed and milbase buildings;

and

3] targeted tax credits for purchases of energy efficient homes, weatherization, and hi-mpg cars plus extended business tax credits for job creation in the USA:

I think it would not be enough, but it might pass with bipartisan support and it would all be a good first step.

Then the long term ideas could be dealt with one-by-one in the ordinary budget process. I am assuming that DOD which is supposed to get an 8% increase aside from war costs could get a bigger continuing resolution if the armed forces are expanded to allow the enlistment of hundreds of thousands who will be seeing them as the safety valve as in every recession. I am assuming that NIH-NSF could gain more funding in the ordinary budget process.

Isn't the D attempt to mix budget priorities in with immediate stimulus a bit panicked in its view of the urgency?

I have the most difficulty with the unrestricted aid to the states outside of established mechanisms like medicaid and fed highway money. The Nixon era "revenue sharing" was very inefficient.

We need to talk about this at lunch.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 4, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

On his show the other evening, John Stewart put forth an interesting idea: trickle-up economics. Bail us out by paying off our consumer debt, the banks get their money and people just may be able to afford their mortgages and stay in their homes.
Bailing out banks and other business is a bad idea. Let them fail.

Posted by: lsl1894 | February 4, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

okay, i forgot...
the first part of the "bailout" was under what President?

Let's see, I think AIG and JPCHASE got lots of money just recently. I read it somewhere.
Since AIG is in every 401(k) in America, I would like a bit of published tracking on the first part of this bailout and what it really did.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Contrary to what the Wacko Republicans think, Obama's supporters do not think he is the Messiah. We realize he is a man and can make mistakes. It was refreshing to admit he had made a mistake instead of trying to create an alternative reality like the Republicans’ have done for the past eight years. I look at yesterday as a net win for the USA and Obama because not only did we get one of the best Republicans on our team but we admitted we were human. What a refreshing revelation.

Posted by: bradcpa | February 4, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Congress established the AMT in 1969 to target wealthy Americans who qualified for so many deductions that they owed no tax. (we used to call these people "tax dodgers").

The Senate chose to tack on something to the stimulus bill to cut the taxes of people who owe the AMT! 70 billion dollars, going not to create jobs but to give well off taxpayers a tax cut. In 2008, over 1% of US citizens had to pay the AMT, which is LESS than the highest tax bracket. 4.2 million people had to pay the AMT in 2008, if we give them 70 billion dollars as the Senate wants, that figures out to over $15,000 per person, and these are people making lot's of money, like the bank executives getting million dollar bonuses.

If you read the articles on the AMT, they usually say that people earning over $100,000 MAY have to pay the AMT, but none say how many actually did have to pay it. It's very rare for people making less than $200,000/year to pay the AMT.

Come on Obama, it's time for a change.

Posted by: davidluc | February 4, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I think it is time for the Administration to rethink this whole bipartisan thing and instead put a full court press on the stimulus package. The Party of Nope is clearly not going to go along with anything the Party of Hope puts forward, so an intense, coordinated effort to marginalize even more the Nopers would go a long way to strengthening the Administration's hand not just with the stimulus package but with legislative initiatives for all the other significant problems facing the country (many left by the previous administration of Nopers).

Posted by: JPDupre | February 4, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Republican Senators are the minority, especially when you count the number of citizens they represent. Why are they dictating the terms of the stimulus? I thought we were a democracy.

Posted by: gtoney55 | February 4, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

All right now, its time to stop the sillyness.
Obamas promise to go through the budget line by line and remove the pork has failed in the first 2 weeks in office.
Scrap the incentive crap and let business fail as they should.
Let Americans find responsible work to feed their families and put a roof over their heads, and we will do just fine.
Bin Laden is winning, if you didnt notice. His plan was to destroy the American economy and WE are doing that for him.
NO BAIL OUT.

Posted by: movette | February 4, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"former Daschle?" I know this man has lost every last shred of dignity but Chris at least leave him his last name.

Posted by: tctexas | February 4, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

It might be a good idea CANONERA, to quit scrolling the internet and pound the streets looking for employment. The government does not owe you a job.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 4, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

If the stimulus is used for public works projects to create jobs and improve infrastructure, then it could be helpful. But if it's designed to reward poorly managed businesses (such as banks and the auto-makers) then it's a waste of time.

The previous stimulus package has done little to free up credit for the public; instead it's allowed bonuses to be paid!

The sad fact about this is that the Republicans do seem intent on posturing for the next election.... The hope that Obama gave in moving beyond politics as usual is rapidly fading.

Posted by: RickJ | February 4, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

The GOP pretend to care so deeply about the stimulus, when it is patently obvious and a derelict of their duty to the public, that the GOP are working furiously for the next elections and not the peoples' economic crisis looming so large at this time. Some Republican Pundits charged with this task, call the Stimulus a stinking corpse, instead of what it is -- a valuable work in progress for this country. Like any creation, in the early stages, it is chaos and not fully formed, such as a fetus, a painting, any work of art, and yet the artist ploughs on knowing the beauty to be eventually created. Why in the world, would some Pundits criticize the early form instead of giving support, is beyond the pale, especially when they know to publically criticize it is to get the ball rolling to derail it. May be they do not love this country more than their party affiliation!

At this critical stage in our rapidly-crumbling economy, it would seem that the Republican Senators would do everything they can to do something, to tell the American people, I am on your side, and not always to quickly say no to the middle class and the little people; no to schools, education, infra structure, green jobs, all of which have too long been denied and neglected and Yet, always yes to the Special Interest Groups, to wars, to big oil and their tax breaks.

It is a sad fact that for average American citizens, the GOP is becoming the party of NO! We can not depend on the GOP to help us, they never have. In 2010, we will know what to do.

Posted by: dsoulplane | February 4, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The statement Robert Gibbs keeps making "we think it will save or create more than 3 million jobs..." Well which is it, save or create? It can't even translate into a certain number.

This deceptive language makes me uneasy.

Posted by: scginnj | February 4, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Can whoever is against the stimulus bill give me a job?
Please.

Posted by: Canonera | February 4, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe any more should be added to the bill, just reworked. There is a massive amount of PORK in the bill that currently is one huge hog trough for every lobbyist and special interest group in the country. The pork needs to be taken out and added to the infrastructure jobs column and strict accounting measures must be set up.
Also, a system needs to set up to screen out illegals. These jobs should be a priority for out of work American citizens, not line jumping illegals.

Posted by: morningglory51 | February 4, 2009 6:45 AM | Report abuse

This so called stimulas bill has been exposed for what it is, a big payback to all of the dems special interests groups, that has nothing to do with stimulas. Any politician who votes for this bill had better be in a safe district, as this is a game changer. Welcome back GOP, to take control of the House in 2010.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 4, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

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