Originally Posted by Kaylore
The stimulus was mostly pork. That is one of the many missteps this amateur president made. Even many left wing pundits admit it as much.
First of all, you started by blaming Obama for not instantly stopping all job loss the second he took office ("unemployment was lower when he took office!"). When it is pointed out to you that when he passed the stimulus soon after the unemployment started to reverse
, you just jump to the "there's a lot of pork in it" and "the media goes too easy on the President." I have seen nothing but constant coverage about how bad the economy is. (The media has done a terrible job of explaining what was in the stimulus; they've certainly done no favors to put it a positive light.)
Instead, show me an example of this immense "pork" and waste. Show me you have any understanding of what was in the bill, outside the GOP talking point of "stimulus bad."
Time reporter Michael Grunwald wrote a 450 pg investigation into the history and content of the bill. Here's a chart:
Most of the bill was tax cuts
for 95% of workers, emergency relief to states to prevent layoffs or cuts in service, additional aid to the unemployed. And, what I assume you are labeling as pure pork, are the longer term investments:
The stimulus included $27 billion to computerize our pen-and-paper health care system, which should reduce redundant tests, dangerous drug interactions, and fatalities caused by doctors with chicken-scratch handwriting. It doubled our renewable power generation; it increased solar installations over 600 percent; it essentially launched our transition to a low-carbon economy.
It provided a new model for government spending—with unprecedented transparency, unprecedented scrutiny, and unprecedented competition for the cash. Experts predicted that as much as 5 percent of it would be lost to fraud, but so far, investigators have documented less than $10 million in losses, about 0.001 percent.
Despite all the controversy over the lack of shovel-ready projects, the Obama administration has met every spending deadline, and it’s kept costs so far under budget that it’s been able to finance over 3,000 additional projects with the savings. But the media coverage of the stimulus was almost exclusively gotcha stuff, usually without a real gotcha. And when the media did notice long-term investments in the stimulus, like Race to the Top or clean-energy research, it rarely mentioned the stimulus connection.
Except, of course, when it was noticing Solyndra. After a year of screaming headlines about crony capitalism and shady deals, even Republican investigators have admitted there’s no evidence of any political interference or other wrongdoing. A slew of independent reviews—including one led by John McCain’s finance chairman—have concluded that the clean-energy loan program is working well. Everyone knew that some of its loans would go bad. But the Solyndra scandal—which isn’t even a scandal—is probably the best-known product of the stimulus.
The thing is, yes it wasn't a bill a Republican would have written, but on the whole, the stuff in it was mostly stuff Republicans also liked...until the guy they swore to never cooperate with (their #1 priority above all others!) had his name associated with those ideas:
I don’t think my book portrays the Republicans as “vicious,” but I do show—thanks to a lot of in-depth interviews with GOP sources—how they plotted to obstruct Obama before he even took office. I show how the stimulus was chock full of stuff they claimed to support until Jan. 20, 2009—not just things like health IT and the smart grid and energy efficiency and scientific research, but the very idea of Keynesian stimulus. Every presidential candidate in 2008 proposed a stimulus package, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. So I do spend a fair amount of time chronicling Republican stimulus hypocrisies...In general, I’d have to say my reporting backs up the Norm Ornstein-Thomas Mann thesis that the Republicans have gone off the policy deep end—denying global warming, denying Keynesian economics (except when it comes to business tax cuts and defense spending!), trashing Obama’s government takeover of health care and also his Medicare cuts, drumming stimulus supporters like Crist and Specter out of the party. Then again, one Republican who comes off pretty well is Mark Sanford, a rare voice of honest small-government conservatism in the party.
Sorry, this ran a little long, but I seriously want to see if you have put any thought into this. There are educated critiques to be made, but everything you're saying sounds reactionary to me.