American Elephants

Startling Revelations About the Stimulus, From Obama’s Economist by The Elephant's Child

A lengthy piece in The New Yorker by Ryan Lizza uncovered a 57-page “Sensitive and Confidential” memo by  economist Lawrence Summers written in December 2008.  Summers was soon to be appointed head of the incoming president’s National Council of Economic Advisers. The memo provided a blueprint for the new administration’s policies.  James Pethokoukis listed eleven points that explain the economic stimulus package that the Democrat-controlled Congress passed at Obama’s request.

All that hoopla about “inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression,” rising unemployment being a number one concern, fixing a damaged economy — all pure road apples. Hogwash. Most, if not all, we were told about the stimulus was a flat-out lie.

The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda and making sure that federal dollars flowed to pet projects, especially in the clean energy sector. The administration knew the deficits they were piling up were dangerous, and that the spending was not realistic, but they had no plan to deal with that danger.

They knew that the price tag for this political boondoggle was higher than they said it was. They thought they needed a stimulus larger than $1 trillion but were afraid it would spook financial markets and send interest rates soaring.

Questionable government force was a tactic from the first— they wanted to use the courts to force massive mortgage principal write-downs, and the Independent Pay Advisory Board (IPAB) to bring down health care costs was there right at the beginning.

President Barack Obama has had an agenda that has nothing to do with “the worst economy since the Great Depression” or the plight of unemployed Americans, or lowering the national debt, and nothing whatsoever to do with bringing Americans together or improving the political discord in the nation’s capitol.

The plans to raise revenue didn’t raise as much as the campaign assumed.  The proposals of the campaign cost way more than the campaign assumed.  Repealing the tax cuts would raise about $40 billion less than assumed, and the health savings were way lower.  They couldn’t even figure out ways to spend the money quickly enough. Even Washington can only spend so much money so fast.

What to Expect From Obama’s ‘State Of The Union’ Speech by The Elephant's Child

What will the President say tonight? The first clue is always — who will be sitting in the first lady’s box? Warren Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, who Buffet says paid a higher tax rate than he did.  This is the keynote of Obama’s “Class Warfare” campaign theme. This is complete hooey, but is supposed to drive the response — “That’s not fair!” Much of the campaign State of the Union speech will be devoted to what’s fair and what’s not in the president’s lexicon, and how we should change the nation from a bastion of liberty — to a nation of redistribution in the name of “fairness.”

Also in the first lady’s box will be outgoing Rep. Gabby Gifford’s husband, Mark Kelly; Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow; and Adam Rapp, a cancer survivor that the administration claims was helped by ObamaCare. So something about administration efforts to stimulate innovation in technology, what we learned from the Tucson shooting, and something about the effectiveness of ObamaCare.

Expect a dull and divisive speech.  Will the Supreme Court attend after being insulted before the nation last year?

Will there be any mention of the fact that the White House budget will be late again this year — again missing the deadline of the first Monday in February, required by law? This will mark the third time in four years that the president has missed his statutory requirement to present a budget on time.  Heck of a way to run a government. Today will also mark the 1.000th day since Congress passed a budget. The last budget that was passed by Senate Democrats was in 2009 to set the stage for the health care bill’s passage in early 2010. Republicans sent a budget up last year, but Senate Democrats never brought it to the floor.

The Republican response to the State of the Union will be delivered by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.  Here’s a report from the Republican Governors’ Association on what can be accomplished by people with principles:


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