Stimulus conundrum: history matters

09 July 2009 |permalink | email article

One question rarely raised about the Bush administration is why it never tried to jump-start the troubled U.S. economy in 2008. Another is why House Minority Leader John Boehner, now out front in ranting about the alleged failure of the Obama stimulus package, was so silent then.

With unemployment rising and the economy even more stagnant NBC News noted that the president’s efforts to speed up the pace of recovery has become more of a P.R. problem rather than an economic one. Rising unemployment and a stagnant economy suggest that the White House, to the delight of naysayer Republicans like Boehner who love the refrain, “where are the jobs,” have no perception of the real problem, at least in the short term.

Neither did FDR who initially led the charge out of the Great Depression but cut the recovery effort short in 1937, wrongly assuming the problem was over which, in fact, ended only with World War II.

Most economists agree that the stimulus’ real benefits won’t become apparent until later this year or next. Obama told NBC Tuesday that the recession was gong to be deep, last for a while, and even when the economy pulls out of a recession jobs will emerge from the end of the process rather than at he beginning.

Bob Shrum, the Democratic guru, noted in The Week that for the GOP “it’s another case of buying short-term press at the expense of a coherent strategy,” with the sense that the party has no answers of its own. And the GOP will pay a “heavy political price if the economy does turn around.”

L.A. The San Francisco Chronicle reported, to Attorney General Jerry Brown’s apparent surprise, that he was mentioned in Michael Jackson’s will, along with the pop star’s children, ex-wife Debbie Rowe and singer Diana Ross. Brown, not a beneficiary, said he believed the issue involves his office’s oversight in trust matters. Jackson’s 2002 will was released in its entirety by The Smoking Gun…L.A. City Hall old timers cannot recall any newly sworn in City Attorney storming the City Council to raise questions about spending taxpayer millions on the Jackson memorial service at Staples Center. Journalist Ron Kaye called Carmen Trutanich’s appearance the best two minutes in modern City Council history. What’s clear is Trutanich will be a prosecutor not subservient to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s unfocused leadership.

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