Archive for Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spend or save? Obama torn

June 9, 2010


— To spend or not to spend? That is the question that’s pressing President Barack Obama.

While gushing red ink as it spends billions to stimulate the economy, the Obama White House wants to spend more to create jobs, and it faces growing pressure from labor unions and liberal groups to keep the federal spigot open to help the jobless and to save Americans’ endangered jobs.

However, Obama also faces a growing number of Americans who are saying that he’s making the economy worse, not better. Congress — skittish about a voter backlash in an election year, when incumbents already are falling to challenges from the right and left — appears torn between spending more to create jobs and pulling back to keep from adding to the national debt.

Underlying it all, Americans are growing more skeptical of the president’s economic program.

In a poll released Tuesday, the Pew Research Center found that the ranks of people who think that Obama’s policies are making things worse has risen to 29 percent from 16 percent a year ago.

At the same time, 23 percent said that the president was making the economy better, down slightly from 26 percent a year ago.

“The public increasingly sees Barack Obama’s policies as having an impact on economic conditions,” Pew said. “And for the first time, slightly more say the impact has been negative than positive.”

Key to public perceptions: The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, at 9.7 percent.

At the same time, a debt crisis in Greece that’s sent shivers across Europe has heightened awareness at home of soaring annual federal budget deficits and rising U.S. debt. The deficit is likely to hit $1.5 trillion this year, adding to a gross federal debt of more than $13 trillion.

The president remains firmly committed to the

$862 billion stimulus package that was enacted last year that is still spending money to spark the economy.

Lest he wobble, labor unions and liberal groups are pressing for more. At a meeting this week, Robert Borosage, the co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future, complained that the stimulus package and other major Obama measures such as overhauling health care are too small, not too big.

“People are strongly feeling that they need to push more. He has compromised too readily, too early,” he said.

The president supports spending more to create jobs in legislation that’s pending before Congress, but those plans are being downsized in response to deficit pressures.

A $200 billion plan in the House of Representatives to boost jobs met resistance from freshmen lawmakers who are worried about re-election, and was reduced.

“There is a very ... changed climate in terms of the size of the spending,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last week.

In the Senate, Democrats on Tuesday scaled back initial plans to extend unemployment benefits for the jobless and to help states pay teachers’ salaries, though the final terms remain in flux.

In a largely symbolic bow to concerns about the deficit, Obama’s administration said Tuesday that it would cut spending at some federal government agencies by 5 percent — starting in October 2011.

However, those yet-to-be-specified cuts would offset other spending increases, and leave agencies’ overall budgets still meeting a freeze that the president outlined earlier.


Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, maybe obama can create me a $500,000/yr job bass fishing... err, studying fish populations at Lone Star Lake. Mr Obama, I'll also be needing a nice 18 foot Ranger Bass Boat with a 200 HP mercury to do the study. Oh, and a new Dodge 4x4 truck (with the cummins diesel to help the environment) to pull the boat to Lone Star. Also, testing equipment! I saw a mice baitcasting rig at cabelas for $520 that will suffice if you throw in another $300 for tackle and a box. DO NOT forget beer money! You can't do fish research without Heineken.

Fish researching may sound a little expensive, but it's worth every dime to dedicated environmentalist like myself, mr obama. Please remit check.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

I knew he was a displaced used-car-salesman when he spoke at traitor john kerry's reporting-for-duty convention. Obama never made it to fooling me once. He's as big a liar as john edwards without the charm of Bill Clinton.

On a side note, to whoever has the "dopey" bumper sticker with the obama campaign graphic as the "o", very nice! It fits perfectly next to the Gadsden sticker.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

I thought the saying was "Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice ... and I'm a Republican voting for Bush again."

Also, when was the last time you called a white politician "thuggish"?

However, coming from someone who claims, "Whites have no power right now," I actually expect nothing less.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Money left in the private sector is not guaranteed to create jobs, raise wages and benefits, or anything else.

Although I agree we should be focusing on things that will encourage/mandate American companies to build/manufacture things here, and pay their taxes.

c_doc77 7 years, 11 months ago

"We got into this mess because of George Bush's reckless 'stimulus' spending. More poison isn't the cure for what ails us."

Yep. What I find amusing is this [shamefully predictable] rhetoric from some on the "right" who want to blame Obama for the stimulus funds. They basically say that Bush's stimulus was good, but Obama's bailouts were extreme and unprofitable. I knew they were going to resort to this. Only an idiot would fall for this, but unfortunately some people actually are that stupid.

The real deal is this: this whole too-big-to-fail/government bailout stuff was, from the beginning, a bi-partisan effort. McCain suspended his campaign in order to shame Obama into helping to "solve" the financial crisis. Both went to Washington and attached their names to the Bush plan and the time. And Obama simply continued what Bush started. Neither "party" can pretend to be innocent here, and the People know that. That's why We are getting rid of incumbents in both parties right now.

If America can get past the pain of making some really difficult and extreme changes, things can eventually improve. But if we are going to cry when we continue to elect politicians whose policies basically revolve around keeping up appearances long enough to get re-elected, I don't know...

David Roberts 7 years, 11 months ago

Every American should know how much they are "on the hook" for. So here it is--debt by the numbers (as of 2009 with credit to Zero Hedge)...

Total US Debt so far: $115 - $315 Trillion dollars? (excluding/including derivatives notional)

$380,000 - $1,037,000 per person.

The break out:

$9.7 Trillion in bailouts $11 Trillion in national debt $17 Trillion in corporate/financial debt, and $13.8 Trillion in household debt $1 Trillion in credit card debt $10.5 Trillion in mortgages $52 Trillion in social security/medicare obligations

Like other government trust funds (highway, unemployment insurance and so forth), the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds exist purely for accounting purposes: to keep track of surpluses and deficits in the inflow and outflow of money. The accumulated Social Security surplus actually consists of paper certificates (non-negotiable bonds) kept in a filing cabinet in a government office in West Virginia. These bonds cannot be sold on Wall Street or to foreign investors. They can only be returned to the Treasury. In essence, they are little more than IOUs the government writes to itself.

$200 Trillion in U.S. bank derivatives (notional)

Total excluding derivatives: $115 Trillion Total including derivatives: $315 Trillion

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