Circumstances Forced Me to Do What I Wanted to Do Anyway


Discussing the "stimulus" bill he hopes to sign next week, President Obama says:

Look, I would love not to have to spend money right now….This notion that somehow I came in here just ginned up to spend $800 billion…that wasn't how I envisioned my presidency beginning. But we have to adapt to existing circumstances.

This stance seems to be at odds with his oft-repeated assurances that the legislation aims not simply to create jobs but to do so through sound investments that will lead to greater prosperity in the long run. Obama bridles at the "pork" label, arguing that the spending on things such as education, health care, energy programs, infrastructure, and broadband Internet service is justified on its own terms, irrespective of the recession. Furthermore, he campaigned on middle-class tax cuts and has insisted on keeping two years of rebates in the stimulus plan. Add all that together, plus various other line items he favors on non-recession-related policy grounds, and you've accounted for most of the package's cost. How can he expect us to believe that an economic emergency forced him to pursue his pre-existing tax and spending priorities?