"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Monday, September 6, 2010

Obama Calls for Spending $50 Billion More on Infrastructure


Oh, great... Apparently $787 billion wasn't enough to keep unemployment in check, so $50 billion more should do the trick. Right?

That seems to be the upshot of Obama's speech according to The New York Times.


"President Obama on Monday is to call for as much as $50 billion in government spending to start up a long-term public works plan emphasizing transportation projects – roads, rail and airport runways – over the next six years.

"Mr. Obama will lay out the plan, which is intended to promote the quick creation of construction jobs but would require Congressional approval, during a trip to Milwaukee on Monday afternoon, where he will observe Labor Day by attending a union festival. The spending is one part of a broader economic recovery package that Mr. Obama is to unveil during a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday.

"With Democrats looking at a bleak election season, in large part because of high unemployment, the White House has been scrambling to find ways to jump-start the sagging economy."

I'm not so sure that announcing broad, new spending programs is really going to help the Democrats this election cycle. Yes, many voters are concerned about unemployment, but many are also concerned about deficits and government spending. Plus, most realize that the original stimulus package was an abject failure at accomplishing its stated purpose. Spending $50 billion doesn't seem to be the best idea for placating any of these concerns.

"White House officials said Mr. Obama wanted to rebuild 15,000 miles of roads, construct and maintain 4,000 miles of railway – enough track to span the continent — and rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of airport runways while putting in place a system that would reduce travel time and airport delays."

That last line sort of sounds like Obama selling ObamaCare, doesn't it? The "travel times and airport delays at airports will be reduced while runways are rebuilt" line reminds me of the "expanding coverage and increasing subsidies without increasing the deficit" shtick. Sometimes I am convinced that the Obama Administration thinks we're all Mortimer Snerds or something.

"The $787 billion economic recovery act passed by Congress at the beginning of Mr. Obama’s presidency already included considerable spending on roads and other transportation infrastructure. But the White House says Mr. Obama’s new plan is different, because it would focus on a 'long-term vision' as well as create jobs in the near term."

Oh, good. This money will focus on "long-term visions." Well, I'm sure that the $50 billion will cover all of Obama's vision... And I guess this means that the $787 billion dollar stimulus was simply for short-term gains-- like keeping unemployment below 8%.

"Since the end of last year, when the long-term surface transportation legislation expired, infrastructure investments have been continued on a temporary basis, even as a trust fund that finances them has fallen into insolvency, the White House said. Mr. Obama’s plan would call on Congress to enact a long-term reauthorization of that bill."

Wait a minute. The long-term surface transportation legislation expired at the end of last year? How long did this long-term surface legislation last? Nine months? And they're already begging for more money to make busy-work construction projects to once again "decrease" unemployment? Talk about doubling down on stupid.

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