Obama Adviser: This "Recovery Bill" Is Too Important to Discuss For Any Length of Time

Continuing with its hurry-up offense on the stimulus bill, Obama adviser (and former Clinton Treasury Secretary) Larry Summers tells Fox News:

"We've got to work through the differences, find the best bill we possibly can, and get it in place as quickly as possible," Lawrence Summers, a top Obama economic adviser, told "Fox News Sunday," noting some 600,000 jobs were lost last month.

"If there was ever a moment to transcend politics, this is that moment," said Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council.

More here.

You bet they have to get it in place as quickly as possible: Despite the continuing slide in the economy (abetted by the last great government bailout of the economy from just last year), jes' plain folks are against the current package, which they view rightly as platter of pork rinds cast before swine (or something).

Support for the basic legislation is weak, with half of voters figuring it will make things worse, and Obama's own approval ratings are slipping too. Will Congress bother to listen to its bosses, Ma and Pa Kettle, who are against this stuff, at least as currently constituted?

We say it often here, but any time a political operative such as Summers says it's time to "transcend politics," you know it's not good. The manic rush to pass a monster-sized piece of legislation that its own supporters claim will transform the economic landscape from desert sands to lush oasis is reason enough to slow down.

Anything that important deserves, I don't know, a couple of weeks' serious discussion, doesn't it? The fear-mongering over last fall's TARP legislation proved quite recently that fear-mongering a) is by definition over-hyped and b) leads to bad results (hence the continuous rewriting of TARP). And like the TARP fight, this current spectacle is the economic equivalent of The PATRIOT Act, another piece of overwrought legislation that failed to get the scrutiny and public discussion it desperately needed.

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  • SIV||

    Support for the basic legislation is weak, with half of voters figuring it will make things worse

    Why I rarely rail at my fellow citizens as being stupid.If the other half were all paying attention the disapproval would be higher.

  • ||

    Come on, guys! What could possibly be bad about knee-jerk legislation?

  • ||

    On the bright side, while we'll be fucked for decades, the Democrats exclusive ownership of this monsrtrosity could bode well for the grandchildren.

  • ||

    On the bright side, while we'll be fucked for decades, the Democrats exclusive ownership of this monsrtrosity could bode well for the grandchildren.



    Just like the New Deal is generally reviled... hmm.

    Or maybe so we can get those small government Republicans back in office... hmm.

    Nope, there's nothing good about this.

  • ||

    Wasn't the rush to war in Iraq facilitated by the same sort of rush to judgement?

  • ||

    "We've got to work through the differences, find the best bill we possibly can, and get it in place as quickly as possible," Lawrence Summers, a top Obama economic adviser, told "Fox News Sunday," noting some 600,000 jobs were lost last month.

    And what excellent example of scaremongering that is!

    As if the jobs we lost last month were a function of what wasn't done the month before! As if the jobs we lose next month will be a function of what we don't do now!

    This ball really started rolling in July of '07, at least that's when it started becoming clear what was happening, that's when we really started seeing some pronounced effects.

    And I suspect the jobs number next month will be what it'll be regardless.

  • ||

    Disrupt enough primetime TV, and not getting a mostly useless and wildly expensive "stimulus" package passed will be the least of Obama's worries. The American people just came off of an abusive 8 year relationship. Just because we decided to date a nice guy on the rebound doesn't mean we love him or anything. We need to sort out our feelings before he tries to move in.

  • ||

    SF, once you go black...

  • ||

    Just because we decided to date a nice guy on the rebound doesn't mean we love him or anything.

    Who is this "we" you speak of? Besides, we all know you only love yourself, you egomaniac.

  • Srgt. Barry Obama||

    Move along...

    Nothing to see here...

  • ||

    I was using the royal "we." Because I rule.

  • ||

    just think of how much worse wed be right now if we hadnt past the TARP! congress finally acts in a bipartisan manner and you just want to get in the way of recovery. we all voted obama in by a huge margin and we should give him a chance to change things for the better but instead its that same partisan interests that are keeping us from a prosperous and united future!

  • ||

    "Just because we decided to date a nice guy on the rebound doesn't mean we love him or anything."

    Don't blame me...I voted for Kodos.*

    I loathe political discussions, but I am a fan of divided government, and I have to wonder if this might have been gone better with a Republican president.

    *Actually, I took a principled non-voting stance last time around. What's the principled non-voting stance? It's the one where you grab your ankles like everyone else, but you get to complain without the hypocrisy.

  • Abdul||

    One of the heretofore unrealized benefits of the Bush Administration: the public's distrust of government at highest level in history.

  • robc||

    Nothing is too important that it cant be debated for a few weeks or months.

  • ||

    "One of the heretofore unrealized benefits of the Bush Administration: the public's distrust of government at highest level in history."

    Do you have a poll or something for this?

    I was just a kid in 1974, but in terms of mistrusting government, I bet 2009 is 1974's jailhouse bitch.

  • ||

    One of the heretofore unrealized benefits of the Bush Administration: the public's distrust of government at highest level in history.

    I don't know about that. I tend to think Americans are generally angry at their politicians with a few exceptions. Distrust of government is sort of like our default, which is, I think, the major difference between Americans and Europeans.

  • robc||

    ...or years

  • Barack Popeil Obama||

    Time is running out!

    CALL NOW! And we'll throw in this barrel or pork absolutely free*!

    *(Just pay interest and handling)

    And if you act now, we'll double your order!

  • Reinmoose||

    Seriously, I don't get this. Why is Obama going to such lengths to try to get Republican support, launching a traveling campaign, addressing the nation on TV tonight...
    He has all the votes he needs, doesn't he? Why bother? If we're really teetering on the edge and need to pass something RIGHT NOW like he says, why wait? All that does is give the impression that you don't really think it's as important as you say you do, leaving you similarly to blame for the 500,000+ jobs we could lose in February if you don't pass this at YOUR first opportunity (if you think that the stimulus would really affect those numbers all that much).
    I know why I think he's doing it (to be able to spread the blame if it "fails," but take credit for bipartisanship if it "succeeds"), but now he's gone all in and the Republicans aren't letting him out so far. For every day he waits his argument loses credibility.

  • ||

    Seriously, I don't get this. Why is Obama going to such lengths to try to get Republican support, launching a traveling campaign, addressing the nation on TV tonight...
    He has all the votes he needs, doesn't he? Why bother?


    You know, I've wondered this myself. Honestly, and this might sound silly, I think he just wants to be liked. He wants Americans to want this.

    Then, maybe it isn't so silly at all. If he's ever going to push RED health care through, he'll need majorities in the house and senate. Maybe he's trying to keep popularity up for two years from now?

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck the stimulus, and fuck Keynes. The best bill is no bill, Larry.

  • robc||

    This reminds me of the idea of needing something really high like 80% support to pass any bill. Any law we need can get 80% support. Heck, some bad ideas get that level of support.

    If this package was truly necessary to the survival of the country, both parties would be jumping all over support for it without the need to pork it up to buy votes.

  • ||

    Seriously, I don't get this. Why is Obama going to such lengths to try to get Republican support

    Because then it's bipartisan, and if it fails/blows up/clusterfucks, one party is not wholly responsible.

    That is the long and short of it.

  • ||

    The arguments for the porkulus seem to boil down to two main points. First, appeal to authority. "I am Larry Summners. I used to be President of Harvard. Me and some smart people think this is a good idea so you better stop complaining and pay up". Second, attack the messanger. "The Republicans ran up debt in the last eight years, therefore they have no credibility to complain when we run up even more debt". The last one is nothing but schoolyard logic. If the Republicans were so evil in running up debt, how then does that fact make the Democrats less evil for running up more debt? I watched Larry Summners this weekend and after hearing him make those two arguments over and over again, I was left with the impression that either he is stupid or he thinks the rest of are really stupid. Since Summners generally is a pretty sharp guy, I am betting on the latter.

  • ||

    "Because then it's bipartisan, and if it fails/blows up/clusterfucks, one party is not wholly responsible."

    Exactly. They know it is not going to work but they don't give a shit because it pays off their supporters. The only issue is to make sure that they don't get blamed for stealing a trillion dollars. The way to do that is get enough Republicans to vote for it. Then they can say "we passed this bi partisian bill to try to help, thing how bad things would be if we hadn't".

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    A cynical person would say Obama's doing it so he can have someone to blame. The stimulus bill is the same horseshit we always get from government: If things get better: "We're geniuses!" If things get worse: "Told you it didn't go far enough!"

  • D.R.M.||

    At least the first-released half of TARP was spent quickly, which is what you'd expect from an emergency measure. And it was spent mostly on financial institutions, which is what we were told needed an emergency rescue. TARP may have been stupid, but at least it seems the motive was honest panic.

    The "stimulus" bill, though, includes lots of 2011-and-later spending; indeed, that's more than a quarter of the bill. That doesn't sound like either an emergency response or like some that addresses the current recession. If this really is an emergency measure, it should be a no-brainer for the supporters to cut out all the 2011+ spending to get the measure through.

  • ||

    "Seriously, I don't get this. Why is Obama going to such lengths to try to get Republican support, launching a traveling campaign, addressing the nation on TV tonight...
    He has all the votes he needs, doesn't he? Why bother?"


    I suspect he needs a certain amount of support from Republicans to keep the noses of would be dissenters within his own party to the grindstone.

    Like Margaret Thatcher reaching out to Labor to deal with the "wets" in her own party.

    There's another question to go along with yours too--why are the Republicans potentially supportive?

    The next election's far away, no one will blame them for opposing pork anyway... Why shouldn't they oppose Obama's plan tooth and nail? what do they have to lose?

  • ||

    "The "stimulus" bill, though, includes lots of 2011-and-later spending; indeed, that's more than a quarter of the bill. That doesn't sound like either an emergency response or like some that addresses the current recession. If this really is an emergency measure, it should be a no-brainer for the supporters to cut out all the 2011+ spending to get the measure through."

    A lot of it is waiting until 2010 and 2011 because that is when it matters most for the election. They have to get as many people on the dole and fund as many Democratic benies as possible before 2012.

  • ||

    No. I really don't think this has to do with bipartisanship anymore. Nobody believes this has been a bipartisan process, and Obama is going to speak to the American people, anyway. He isn't trying to sell this thing to Republicans.

    This has more to do with reclaiming that early post-inauguration mindless enthusiasm, I think, than anything else. Of course, that sort of reclamation is impossible... unless there's a terrorist attack or something else of that sort.

  • Reinmoose||

    I'm tired of this horse shit.

    Just go balls to the wall already and pass a 3, no 4 trillion dollar package. It's going to end up being that much later on when we pass yet another bailou... I mean, recovery bill, anyway. You got the votes, dude, and "change" and "hope" on your side. If I'm going to be raped, I'd just assume that it not be drawn out.

  • kablammo||

    Oh, this is just the beginning. If you think $800 bn or so is pricey for this little pork-fest, just wait 'till you see the price tag on the bank recapitalization package they're going to shove through and then the foreclosure prevention package that comes after that.

  • Seward||

    We are basically in George Kennan "Long Telegram" territory right now; where the future is being defined today. Of course I guess that is always happening, but with varying tails.

  • BDB||

    Not to mention a second TARP. If the economy DOESN'T turn around this country will literally be bankrupt by 2016.

  • ||

    This has more to do with reclaiming that early post-inauguration mindless enthusiasm, I think, than anything else.

    The inauguration was Jan. 20. It's Feb. 9. I know the culture moves faster these days, but sheez.

  • ||

    "Not to mention a second TARP. If the economy DOESN'T turn around this country will literally be bankrupt by 2016."

    Honestly, I think the real plan is to borrow all the money they can, then once the recession ends have hyper inflation and inflate out of the debt. If you have enough inflation, four or five trillion dollars isn't that much money anymore. No kidding, I think if you gave Summners and Gaithner truth serum that is what they would tell you. If you are not scared, you are not paying attention.

  • BDB||

    Inflation would kill them politically.

    I thought they were just really, really hoping the economy would grow so the debt would be less of a big deal as a % of GDP. I really hope that happens, not inflation.

  • BDB||

    But yeah, John, that thought makes saving any money seem like less of a good idea now!

  • ||

    "Inflation would kill them politically"

    So would deflation and a stagnant economy. I think inflation is insanity to. But, I also think that they have paniced. They have to know that all of thise spending and borrowing and printing money is going to effect the economy eventually. They also have to know that once you spend money in Washington, it becomes the baseline. That means that even if they get kicked out in four years and someone tries to come in and undo the damage, Liberals will scream that evil Republicans are cutting domestic spending 50%, never mentioning that spending doubled in four years in the name of an "emergency" that is now over. I can't see any other explanation for what they are doing beyond it being either, "we don't care about the future and just want to steal as much as possible" or the borrow now and inflate out of the debt later plan. I am not sure which alternative is more scary to be honest.

  • BDB||

    I'd much prefer a deep recession to 70s-style inflation, personally.

  • Reinmoose||

    I saw Claire McCaskill on Meet the Press this weekend and she made a comment about how we need to "move" the housing stock (as in, get it all bought up).
    It made me look down the street at the high-rise condo developments currently going up and think to myself - I wonder if Americans are going to shift the amount of money that they're willing to spend on housing back to a reasonable level. I mean - seriously? Who's going to buy a $400,000 1BR condo in this market? Wouldn't the natural tendency under these conditions be to split houses into duplexes and for people to live in smaller, more affordable housing, and in more predictable conditions?

  • ||

    So, what country can I move to so as to avoid this hyperinflation? I'd like to get my plans rolling ASAP.

    Thanks.

  • BDB||

    "Reinmoose | February 9, 2009, 10:31am | #
    I saw Claire McCaskill on Meet the Press this weekend and she made a comment about how we need to "move" the housing stock (as in, get it all bought up)."

    Fuck her. I rented during the housing boom, what do I get?

    People need to realize that treating your home as an "investment" is about as stupid as buying a car thinking it will be worth more in the future in this market.

  • ||

    BDB,

    Perhaps I am giving them too much credit. What is inexplicable about this thing is how Mr. I Won didn't come up with his own plan and left the writing to Pelosi and Reid. Perhaps, Summners and Volker, who are very smart people, came to Obama and said, to get out of this don't waste a bunch of money paying off supporters. Here is a list of tax cuts and immediate stimulus stuff you can do. Obama being a docrinaire liberal with very little experience would have recoiled from the suggestion. Since him and his advisors couldn't agree on what to do, maybe he punted and said let Congress do it. Of course Pelosi knew what to do and wrote this abomination of a bill. Now of course Obama is stuck with it and Summners is just carrying water for Obama pretending the bill is a good idea or what he would do given a choice.

  • ||

    People need to realize that treating your home as an "investment" is about as stupid as buying a car thinking it will be worth more in the future in this market.

    A home is an investment, but it is a long-term one. Very long-term.

    Real estate is a great investment, if you buy at the right time (like now), and if you can afford to sit on it for a while.

  • ||

    So, what country can I move to so as to avoid this hyperinflation? I'd like to get my plans rolling ASAP.

    What about New Zealand? Seriously. I've been reading some encouraging things about New Zealand...

  • Curious George||

    Whenever a politician says legislation is too important not to pass and its too important to be delayed you are reminded of the used car salesmen who tell you don't bother looking under the hood of the used car he's trying to foist on you.

    This country deserves what it gets and will get it good.

  • ||

    Obama should get Cramer!!! on the job, if he wants to really stir up some panic.

    If I go to the Post Office and find a $10,000.- check from the Teh Most Awesomest President Evar in my box, I'll cash it.

    I'll feel dirty, later, but I'll cash it.

  • BDB||

    "hat is inexplicable about this thing is how Mr. I Won didn't come up with his own plan and left the writing to Pelosi and Reid."

    I noticed that, too, and he seems frustrated by it. This is what happened to Carter and what happened to Clinton his first two years, too. They let their own party in Congress basically push them around.

  • Reinmoose||

    Yeah, I know BDB

    A house is a place to live. If you don't want to live someplace for very long, maybe you shouldn't spend $300K on it.

  • ||

    split houses into duplexes and for people to live in smaller, more affordable housing, and in more predictable conditions?

    What?? Americans living like IllegalJobStealerz? Noooooo!

  • waldo||

    The longer we wait and the more we fiddle with it, the worse the bill becomes. If only we had a teddy rosevelt up our sleeves

  • ||

    BDB,

    They fucked people like you and I royally. The only tax break I can get is buying a house. But thanks to Greenspan, Dodd, and Frank and company, even at my income I can't afford a decent house that is reasonably close to my job in the market I live in. So basically people like you and I have a choice, we can be house poor or tax poor. Meanwhile, the people down the street who bought in my neighborhood in 2001 for $250,000 are demanding that the government save their $500,000 in equity. At some point in the last 20 years, eliminating affordable houseing became the national policy.

  • ||

    Damn, New Zealand is so far away. My wife hates flying, this is gonna suck when I tell her. I was hoping for something in the Caribbean. At least the Kiwis speak English, though. I'm kinda lazy in that I'll work hard at work but I don't want to be so inconvienced that I have to learn a whole new language.

  • JFK||

    Ask not who is going to pay for it*, ask who is going to loan it#.

    * you, your children, rich, greedy taxpayers, and even a few Democrats.

    # at today's jacked down interests rates, nobody.

  • Orange Line Destroyer||

    Obama gives you hyperinflation and unemployment as far as the eye can see.

    This is HOPE and CHANGE.

    You wanted it, you'll get it.

  • ||

    Honestly, I think the real plan is to borrow all the money they can, then once the recession ends have hyper inflation and inflate out of the debt.

    I think that's the plan as well, in part. They are already monetizing debt.

    Inflation is basically a tax on savings, and won't happen until the out years. The Dems are betting on people not connecting the dots between inflation in 2011 and 2012 and what they do now. Probably not a bad bet to make.

  • ||

    BDB,

    I think you are wrong to say that we shouldn't look at homes as an investment. Unlike your car, a house with proper maintence is still good or even better in 50 years. Homes are a durable asset that we pay off over upwards of 20 years. That is an investment and a good one since you need a place to live. The problem arose not when people looked at homes as investments but when people started to think that they were immune from supply and demand and could return ten or more percent a year every year indefinitely. What exactly happened to the fundementals of housing supply and demand over the last 10 years? Have we had an explosion in population that was not met with the proper supply? No. Has there been a decrease in supply? No. Then why the hell did housing prices double? The answer of course lies in factors outside of supply and organic demand and is why the prices could not sustain themselves.

  • Taktix®||

    Just go balls to the wall already and pass a 3, no 4 trillion dollar package.

    It will be by the time it's signed. Everything that's going on right now is mere theater, they'll jack up the price when it gets to the "committee to resolved the differences between the House and Senate bills."

    I put that in scare quotes because the real purpose of that step, in modern times is to replace all the items taken out to get the fucking thing passed.

    I agree with Reinmoose, I am quite tired of this horseshit.

  • ||

    RC,

    If we had real journalists rather than Dem mouthpieces running the Sunday Morning talk shows, someone would ask Summners if his plan is to borrow now and inflate out of the debt in the out years. I bet his face would turn grey. I think that is exactly what they are planning and no one will call them on it.

  • roystgnr||

    John's got it right: the problem isn't that people confused "real estate" with "good targets for investment", the problem is that people confused "investment" with "speculation": putting your savings in an asset that doesn't generate income for you, just because you hope that someone else will pay you much more for it later. That can sometimes be economically useful and profitable, but it's *never* reliably so, as we seem to find out every decade but forget again every year.

  • ||

    Inflation is basically a tax on savings

    Savings (aka "F-Y money") is something that could discourage dependence on govt, and thus must be discouraged or eliminated. For our own good.

  • JB||

    No discussion, no dissent, get to your prison camp.

    Our first Affirmative Action president is nothing but skinny Stalinist.

  • Dan D.||

    The economy seems to get worse every day, but that makes it all the more important to see that the stimulus is properly done -- if it needs to be done at all.

    Is Obama making a mistake by not make a bigger effort to see that the stimulus bill is a bipartisan effort?

    During the election Obama promised change, specifically change in the way the political system works.

    Wouldn't a big part of this change be to try to get Republicans and Democrats to work together on a stimulus bill at this critical time in our nations history?

    Stumping along the lines of what Obama has been recently saying amounts little more than I won the election so I have a mandate from the people so we are going to do what I want to do.

    How does that help encourage the Republicans to want to work with Obama?

    All of the elected officials -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents -- have the mandate of the people that elected them otherwise they would not be holding office.

    Obama's line of reasoning that he has a mandate also forgets that he represents all the people that did NOT vote for him.

    Although they might not have voted for him he still has a responsibility to them as well to not squander their tax dollars and to not ignore the law makers that they have duly elected.

    http://www.weeklypoint.com/2009/02/09/obama-pushes-for-stimulus/

  • ||

    Shorter Larry Summers: Republicans have no credibility because they spent too much and ran up the national debt, therefore they can't complain about Democrats spending and running up the national debt even more.

  • The Medic||

    It dosn't matter. "They" aren't listening. I've called and mailed my Congressional offices. They all give the same: "thank you, we'll take your thoughts into consideration" which means they throw them into the trash.

    Nothing is going to change, noone will listen.

    Havn't you guys figured that out by now?

    The only change I have seen is the stuff I'm digging for in my sofa to help pay for the heat bill since, I am using less, but the cost has gone up.


    Liberty as we know it is gone. The Dem/Rep crowd has seen to that. They've clubbed us hard enough with the " liberal/conservative liberty" stick to tell us we're all crazy, we don't know what we are talkng about and to let the people in charge do "the job".


    So I've loaded up on 12 Ga shells, and reinforced my front door and started stock piling water, food etc.

    Its only going to get worse.

    The Medic

  • heshaojie||

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