As soon as he said it I thought - He's going to regret that.
While that sound bite got most of the media attention, the real meat on the bone of that speech was President Obama's announcement of a new $50B+ infrastructure
Wait! My mistake. Those excerpts were from a couple of speeches the President made announcing the benefits of the
"....as part of the largest new investment in America's infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System... jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools, repairing our faulty levees and dams, connecting nearly every American to broadband, and upgrading the buses and trains that commuters take every day... we will be investing $28 billion in our highways, money that every one of our 50 states can start using immediately to put people back to work.. the jobs that we're creating are good jobs that pay more than average; jobs grinding asphalt and paving roads, filling potholes, making street signs, repairing stop lights, replacing guard rails..." "We also have to build a new foundation for our future growth. Today, our aging system of highways and byways, air routes and rail lines is hindering that growth. Our highways are clogged with traffic, costing us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel... we're talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America... I'm announcing my administration's efforts to transform travel in America with an historic investment in high-speed rail... The Department of Transportation expects to begin awarding funds to ready projects before the end of this summer, well ahead of schedule." - President Barack Obama - March 3, 2009 and April 16, 2009.
I'm not the only one who had a deja vu experience watching his performance:
"I am announcing a new plan for rebuilding and modernizing America’s roads and rails and runways for the long term. I want America to have the best infrastructure in the world. We used to have the best infrastructure in the world. We can have it again. We are going to make it happen. Over the next six years, over the next six years, we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads -– that’s enough to circle the world six times. That’s a lot of road. We’re going to lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways –- enough to stretch coast to coast. We’re going to restore 150 miles of runways. And we’re going to advance a next-generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays for American travelers...We’re going to continue our strategy to build a national high-speed rail network that reduces congestion and travel times and reduces harmful emissions... this will not only create jobs immediately, it’s also going to make our economy hum over the long haul." - President Barack Obama - September 6, 2010
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|Indecision 2010 - Are You Ready for Some Midterms?|
No, President Obama is not a dog. He is a one trick
Look, the problem with the President's newer bigger spending hammer, is not that he is spending on infrastructure per se. As I said at the time of the original porkulus, if you are going to do a stimulus program, funding needed infrastructure is the right way to do it:
As Rachel Maddow points out, many Republicans complained that the 2009 ARRA porkulus legislation did not contain enough infrastructure spending. She is correct that the Republicans are playing politics now, just like the President and Democrats are playing politics now by pushing new programs before the election. Everyone understands that two months before the election, this is par for the course. But I have a solution that will get bi-partisan support if the administration is sincere about this program.
"It is incumbent on our Federal government to help cushion the blow for those Americans devastated by this economic contraction. That includes unemployment extensions such as are in the stimulus bill. If there are infrastructure projects that we know we really need, like upgrading the electric transmission backbone, and repairing dangerous bridges, there is certainly a case to be made to do the projects now and cushion the recession impact. Fine. I’m on board. The operative word being “need”. But to spend a trillion dollars, just for the sake of spending a trillion dollars,just because some economists and politicians have an unproven dogmatic ideological belief in Keynesian theory, or - more likely - using unproven Keynesian theory as an excuse to load up a porker the likes of which we have never seen before - strikes me as batshit insane."
Since (as clearly indicated by the President on Monday) the monstrous ARRA stimulus legislation did not have the right mix of infrastructure spending (if it did - why would we need a new program less than two years later?) - then the solution is not to spend new money, but instead to fix the stimulus. If the Democrats believe they did the right thing ramming the ARRA stimulus package through - let it play out. But if it was wrong and we need this infrastructure, then reallocate the remaining unspent $200+ billion in the stimulus package to pay for the needed infrastructure.
That is an approach that might elicit bipartisan cooperation - even during the election season. But the exact wrong answer for the the administration and the country, is to pile on new spending.
The administration is reported to be in a panic about the recent polls on the mid-term election. Given that focus, given the politcal acumen of Rahm and Axelrod, it is astonishing that they are so tone deaf to the message being delivered by the electorate. Let me help:
Divided and Balanced.™
Now that is fair.
Now that is fair.