Say when: Congress fills up on stimulus

June 7, 2010

By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

Prodded by last week’s disappointing job-creation numbers, Democrats and Republicans alike are calling for Congress to tackle yet another “jobs bill” – but after 2 1/2 years of stimulus, and well more than $1 trillion committed, the appetite for stimulus spending has dropped.

That means that for the next two months, as lawmakers rush to complete the heavy legislative lifting before they turn full time to the campaign trail, the key question, as it has been for most of the past two years, again will be to spend – or not to spend.

Democratic leaders, who have already invested politically in stimulus spending over the past 15 months, said the fact that the economy is growing at all is testament to the $862 billion stimulus bill enacted in early 2009 and to repeated efforts to build on that.

Over the next few months, they hope to add to that list by approving more unemployment benefits, job-training aid, spending for state and local governments to hire or keep workers, and a small-business lending fund.

“Democrats in Congress will continue taking action on our No. 1 priority: creating good-paying jobs for the American people,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

But with the national debt now at $13 trillion and the annual deficit expected to be well above $1 trillion again this year, skittishness has risen in both parties.

That has forced a scale-back of some of Democrats’ plans, including dropping billions of dollars in extended health care subsidies to those who have lost jobs.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said it’s time the government got out of the way of companies that could create jobs.

“The two things that are growing fastest in this Democrat economy are the size of the federal government and the crushing burden of the national debt,” he said. “Americans are doing everything possible to work harder, produce more, and live with less, while Washington is saddling them with even more government and insurmountable debt for their efforts.”

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1 Comment - what are your thoughts?

  • Jerry says:

    The reason the WPA and CCC helped is because the people who were out of work were willing to do anything to support themselves and their families. Today in our society folks are used to being supported by the government whether they are earning it or not. They aren’t as willing to work at any job that becomes available.
    If Big Brother must be involved, he should employe people directly and for a limited amount of time. Put people to work cleaning, painting and otherwise revitalizing public owned facilities and other infrastructure. I realize most folks don’t have the skills to rebuild bridges. However they can certainly paint park benches, clean restrooms in the parks, mow the lawn at the courthouse and etc. Giving the tax dollars to big construction companies won’t work quick enough. Giving the dollars to local government and schools leaves too much opportunity for diversion to pet projects that do not put people to work.

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