Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

"[The stimulus package was] the most major, sweeping, comprehensive legislation as relates to economic activity ever." -- Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff

And that legislation was passed in a scant three weeks without hearings, much debate or members of Congress even getting a chance to read what they were voting on. That's really scary.

The quote comes from this Washington Post article that contains all sorts of interesting information, including this statement from President Obama:
"This notion that somehow I came in here just ginned up to spend $800 billion, that wasn't -- that wasn't how I envisioned my presidency beginning," [Obama] said.
I still don't know what to make of this. Obama's hand wasn't exactly forced here, in fact he was the chief cheerleader for the stimulus. If he didn't want to spend the money he didn't have to. Does he not have control over the agenda? Has the presidency been effectively outsourced to Pelosi and Reid?

I suppose another interpretation is that he is spending the money only reluctantly, but talk of gargantuan stimulus bill began shortly after the election which would seem to indicate that this had probably been on his mind for a while. I also really have a hard time believing that it really broke his heart to spend a big pile of money to accomodate various liberal special interests.

The really scary part, however, is that the stimulus may only be a taste of what's to come:
Some Democrats hope that it will prove easier to build public support for future legislation that will have a clearer focus than a stimulus package that was, by definition, a rushed grab bag. Hacker predicted that more Republicans could be persuaded to support Obama's health-care proposal, given that some Republican senators are already on the record supporting a different universal health-care plan. To lay the groundwork, he said, the president needs to include new health-care funding in his first budget, and grass-roots supporters need to pressure Republicans.

"You have to keep the movement alive," he said. "You have to keep the pressure on. Whether it's [Arlen] Specter or Snowe or Collins, they have to feel that their constituents are hurting."
Translation: The purpose of the stimulus bill was just to shovel a bunch of money out the door. Now we're actually going to plot out how to expand government control to areas such as health care, and we are going to continue employing scare tactics to do it.

Really, to think anything else at this point is just naive.