George Will writes today:
The administration insists that it really does have a single priority: Everything depends on fixing the economy. But it also says that everything depends on everything: Economic revival requires enactment of the entire liberal wish list of recent decades.
The implausibility of this opportunistic hypothesis is deepened by Obama’s rhetoric, which says “catastrophe” impends unless everything is done simultaneously. But his budget, in effect, says the danger will soon be gone and the new risk will be whiplash from the economy’s sudden acceleration. Although only a small fraction of the supposedly countercyclical stimulus will be spent by the end of the year, the budget assumes that by then the economy will have perked up, and that it will grow robustly — 3.2 percent, 4 percent and 4.6 percent — in the next three years.
To underscore the mendacity of Obama’s contradictory claims, check out these Congressional Budget Office numbers on Obama’s stimulus package: only 35% of the $27 billion dollars authorized for highway construction will be spent by the end of 2010. Only 25% of $18 billion authorized for “other transportation” will be spent by the end of 2010. In total, only 31% of all the infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill will be spent by the end of 2010. Yet by 2010, the Obama Administration is also claiming the economy will already be growing at 3.2% a year. That means 69% of the “stimulus” money is guaranteed to provide zero stimulative effect.
And these CBO numbers are already out of date. They scored the Senate version of the stimulus bill, not the language that finally passed (we wish the CBO had had time to score the bill that passed, but the Obama Administration rushed the bill through before they had the time). Among the “other transportation” in the Senate bill was $2 billion for high speed rail. At the request of the Obama Administration this level was raised to $8 billion in the final package. You can love or hate high speed rail, but by its very definition it requires its own expensive dedicated rail lines, none of which have even been planned yet. In other words, none of that $8 billion is going to come anywhere near stimulating the economy by the time the Obama Administration is predicting the economy will already be in a super healthy recovery.
Either the Obama stimulus had nothing to do with stimulating the economy and everything to do with cramming down decades old liberal priorities under the banner of “catastrophe” or the Obama budget is a complete lie. One of those statements has to be true.