President Obama has proposed another form of stimulus legislation to address our economic woes. This time, his proposal seeks to spend $50 billion to rebuild more roads, railways, and runways.
It’s hard to see how this $50 billion stimulus proposal could have a significant immediate impact on the economy or unemployment. After all, last year’s much larger stimulus bill, which was supposed to target “shovel-ready” projects, didn’t deliver what was promised. In addition, the President’s latest proposal would have to go through the ponderous government contracting process, which means that the money would not be spent quickly. Cynics no doubt will argue that this proposal is a political gambit that is intended only to give President Obama and congressional Democrats a platform to criticize Republicans, who clearly will oppose more spending in view of the nation’s budget woes, as heartless and indifferent to the plight of the many unemployed.
Let’s take the President’s proposal at face value, however. In view of the apparent failure of the first stimulus package, isn’t it curious that more stimulus spending is all the President’s economic team can come up with? Polling data is showing that a broad majority of Americans think that the first stimulus legislation was a colossal waste of money. By going back to the well with another stimulus proposal notwithstanding the polls, the Administration is showing a remarkable tin ear. In view of this proposal, won’t voters in November be well within their rights in concluding that a vote for congressional Democrats really is a vote for still more borrowing and spending? Given the mood of the country, that conclusion probably won’t bode well for the President or his allies.