Obama: Where's the Stimulus?

One story that needs to be told regarding the continued bad economy is the opportunity lost because the stimulus package - which could have had sustained upside impact on the economy - became a package of favors to congress instead of infrastructure spending. The stimulus package was shuffled off to congress as a sort of Christmas present while the White House focused on what it considered important - the redistribution of wealth known as ObamaCare. Former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg explains in Sunday's Globe.

Gregg said in an interview that he joined his Republican colleagues in voting against the stimulus package because it contained an excess of social-program spending sought by Democrats. It would have attracted more support from across the aisle, he said, if it had been weighted more heavily to spending on roads and bridges.

“A stimulus should have been focused more on infrastructure and capital expenditures,’’ he said. “Instead, it was a long wish list of things [Democrats in Congress] wanted over the years.’’

Because the administration viewed wealth redistribution as being more important than fixing the economy, we find ourselves hanging off the precipice still - and we find ourselves without the infrastructure improvements that would provide an economic return on investment had the stimulus money been spent responsibly. Remarkably, the president was still pushing for that stimulus package - the one that takes care of the infrastructure - as recently as Saturday.

It’s time to build a nation that lives up to the ideals that so many Americans have fought for – a nation where they can realize the dream they sacrificed to protect. We need to rebuild our roads and runways and ports. We need to lay broadband lines across this country and put our veterans back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them.

While the media seems to have bought the Obama narrative that he had to work around Republicans to get things passed, that's only because the White House was determined to do things without compromise. The truth is, the minority cooperates only when the majority designs legislation that is popular enough that it's forced to.

Gregg said in the interview that Obama should have worked harder to bridge policy divides on major legislation, from the stimulus to healthcare act. “On these big issues, you have to have some sort of agreement,’’ said Gregg, “or people don’t accept these proposals as fair.’’

"The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst,’’ said Paul Ryan in his convention speech last week. He's correct. We spent the trillion dollars, it should have been something more than payments to key voting blocks of the Democrats.