President Barack Obama on Saturday touted his administration’s economic stimulus spending, saying that it pulled "our financial system and our economy back from the brink."
His remarks in an unusually long edition of his weekly radio and internet address came after a week in which unemployment hit 9.5 percent and Republicans increasingly denounced the stimulus as a failure.
After beginning with a recap of his "progress on these challenges abroad" during his trip overseas this week, Obama quickly pivoted to the stimulus and offered a direct challenge to right-wing critics of the government spending, saying they "have yet to offer a plausible alternative."
First, he sought to reframe the public’s expectations for the spending program. “The Recovery Act wasn’t designed to restore the economy to full health on its own, but to provide the boost necessary to stop the free fall,” Obama said. “It was designed to spur demand and get people spending again and cushion those who had borne the brunt of the crisis.”
And then he pronounced the stimulus plan a success: “In a little over one hundred days, this Recovery Act has worked as intended. It has already extended unemployment insurance and health insurance to those who have lost their jobs in this recession. It has delivered $43 billion in tax relief to American working families and businesses. Without the help the Recovery Act has provided to struggling states, its estimated that state deficits would be nearly twice as large as they are now, resulting in tens of thousands of additional layoffs – layoffs that would affect police officers, teachers, and firefighters.”
That’s in part a rebuke of GOP lawmakers like House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) who pounced on rumblings in Washington of a second stimulus package. “All of this talk of a second stimulus bill, I think, is an admission on the part of the administration that their stimulus plan is not working,” Boehner said earlier in the week.
The president, though, said it’s too soon to label the stimulus a failure, and offered a response to both "those who felt that doing nothing was somehow an answer" and also those who wanted a bigger stimulus and "are already calling for a second recovery plan":
“As I made clear at the time it was passed, the Recovery Act was not designed to work in four months – it was designed to work over two years,” Obama said. “We also knew that it would take some time for the money to get out the door, because we are committed to spending it in a way that is effective and transparent.”
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Obama: Stimulus 'worked as intended'
According to Obama: Stimulus 'worked as intended', a July 11 2009 article by Eamon Javers in Politco: