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  • Morning Bell: Why Obama Failed

    In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama insisted that “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” To this end, the president pledged to make the passage of an economic stimulus package as bipartisan as possible. Well, the House vote on his stimulus bill was bipartisan — against Obama. Not a single Republican voted for the bill; they were joined by 11 Democrats in opposition. So what happened? Why did Obama’s stimulus plan not only fail to attract any Republicans but also drive away 11 members of his own party?

    Shortly after the New Year but still more than a week before Obama was sworn in, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held a hearing where economists from across the political spectrum voiced their support for an economic stimulus package. Among the Democrats’ invited guests was Martin Feldstein, a Harvard economics professor and chairman of Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Feldstein told the Democrats in attendance: “We’re going to need a fiscal stimulus plan that designs tax cuts and spending changes in the most effective way. It pains me to say that, because I’m a fiscal conservative who hates deficit spending, but it is important to have that fiscal stimulus at this time.”

    This testimony came before Feldstein saw the details of the Democrat plan. Now that Feldstein, a pro-stimulus conservative, has had a chance to read the actual bill, he is singing a different tune. He writes in the Washington Post today:

    [T]he fiscal package now before Congress needs to be thoroughly revised. In its current form, it does too little to raise national spending and employment. … We cannot afford an $800 billion mistake.

    Feldstein is right. The bill the House passed last night is a $800 billion mistake, even by the Obama administration’s  own criteria. National Economic Council director Larry Summers said last summer that in order to be effective, any stimulus bill must be “timely… targeted … and credibly temporary.” The trillion-dollar debt plan that passed last night was none of those things.

    The establishment media have made much of Obama’s “charm offensive” to woo conservatives to support the plan. Much has been made of the family planning funding and National Mall resodding that Obama urged House Democrats to abandon. But, as we’ve been pointing out since the beginning, these items are only symbols. The real problem with this bill was that it completely abandoned its own intellectual “timely… targeted … and credibly temporary” criteria. Obama let the far-left leadership in the House craft a bill larger than the combined total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that doubled the size of the Department of Education in one fell swoop, and, according to the New York Times, rewrote “the social contract in ways [liberals] have long yearned to do.” Commenting on the health care part of the bill, liberal Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) told the Times, “We accomplished more today than in the last eight years.”

    Again, conservatives were not alone questioning the judgment of passing major education and health care legislation under the guise of emergency spending. President Bill Clinton’s budget director, Alice Rivlin, said in congressional testimony:

    Such a long-term investment program should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package. The elements of the investment program must be carefully planned and will not create many jobs right away. [The risk is that] money will be wasted because the investment elements were not carefully crafted.

    In “Godfather II,” Frank Pentangeli tells Fredo: “Hey, what’s with the food? Some kid in a white jacket brings me a Ritz cracker with some chopped liver. ‘Canapes,’ he says. I say, ‘Can a peas, my [butt], that’s a Ritz cracker with chopped liver.’” To paraphrase Franky Five-Angels, slapping together all of the far left’s spending priorities into one massive deficit skyrocketing bill and then calling it “economic stimulus” does not make it economic stimulus. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Brookings Institution have all recognized that this is exactly what Obama is trying to do. For the sake of the economy, we sincerely hope he changes course.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    29 Responses to Morning Bell: Why Obama Failed

    1. Joe Leeper San Anto says:

      Classic Bi-Partisan Democratic Approach. Where were these people throughout the Bush administration? The only thing wrong with the Democrats–they think we are so stupid that we will not notice how incompetent they are. Surprise! Surprise!

    2. JJSMSL in vt says:

      I cannot believe the people in charge of protecting and defending this country are the ones who crafted this disgusting spending bill which will do the exact opposite of what they are under oath required to do PROTECT AND DEFEND. They have truly shown this nation as a whole is not what is important to them, it is themselves that they prioritise. oh and by the way, I thought all the regular people voted for barack obama because he was one of them, one of the regular americans , please answer me this question.Q: how does a regular everyday american afford to employ a personal chef at his multi million dollar home in chicago? his personal chef from chicago is now moving to the white house. I thought he was a reular joe? i dont know anyone in my circle of regular people who have a personal chef? open your eyes america!!!!

    3. DC says:

      Prs. Obama reached out, asked for GOP for ideas and was rebuffed. So what? It is not his problem. He needs a just a few senate GOP votes and exactly zero house votes to move his agenda. Under house rules the GOP has little say, under the former leadership the Dems were completely ignored by the GOP leadesship (remember they used to cut-off their mics mid sentence and denied them meeting rooms).

      The GOP is free to be in opposition. Unlike in 1992-94 when the congressional GOP was gaining strength today's GOP is still losing strength and can't likely regain a house majority in the next cycle. The only idea seems to be 'tax cuts' and 'no regulation.'

    4. Nancy Chapman, Napl says:

      Why are we as voters not crying in unison for TERM LIMITS? This current situation is such a clear indication of the perils of an entrenched political class, a caution of our Founders! We need citizen legislators, who come from the private sector and RETURN there as a regular event. THIS would decrease the size and scope of government, and eliminate what is now merely a self-serving quest for power and re-election by a permanent political class.

    5. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      The HF needs to take a class in Logic

      Obama WANTS congress to be bipartisan,

      but the GOP stick together.

      The HOUSE vote PROVES Rush is the



      Rush for Prez in 2012

      and O'Reilly for VP

      They don't KNOW what WILL work

      but they know what WON'T WORK.

    6. Mark Y. Durango,Co says:

      Very sorry for yesterday's multiple posts.With the Left's Bush Derangement Syndrome, they're the blind leading the blind. How many times have you heard the reason to vote for Obama ," he's not Bush".I'm stunned by they're intelligece.My district is very liberal, and eveyone i have spoken to, even the most liberal friends and colleagues disagree with this ridiculous pork bill. Eleven of our Democrat friends in the House also voted against the Biggest Pork Bill ever brought before congress. Elections have consequences.America voted for the most radical and least qualified man ever to run for the office.Now we must deal with Jimmy Carter Nunmber 2.

    7. Ozzy6900, CT (The Bl says:

      We are paying now for not crushing these parasites when we had control! Bipartisan my a$$, the only reason they want republicans involved is so when the deification hits the rotating oscillator, they Left can say "Well, we had support from the Right on this package!"

      Make sure when you meet people on the street, you thank them for what has happened because most of them voted these morons into power! I hope they can live with it!

    8. Gretna Bear, PA says:

      I don't like the billions of dollars or how they're being targeted; neither the billions of dollars for war in southeast Asia.

      Morning Bell's quote "bill larger than the combined total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" from the Washington Post failed to add "so far" from the story.

      The Post's statement that "Larger than the combined total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far", acknowledges that these wars we'll far exceed the trillion dollar mark, and many of those dollars have and will just disappear into the corruption of these affairs.

      At least the $900 billion will be spent in the United States of American for Americans, and by Americans.

    9. DC says:

      The GOP tried very hard to 'smash the parasites' (remember the Permanent Majority and K street project!). Well history handed them their butts.

      Obama defeated all his opposition and achieved a huge electoral vote lead over Sen. MCain, and has temporarily (two cycles or so) reduced the house GOP to a regional party of the south and lightly populated central and mountain states.

      Frankly it does not matter if the house GOP supported it or not, same outcome. If it works it works, if it does not the GOP can say they were not in support. The house GOP leadership was doing the expected, a vote aginast is a a no-cost insurance policy, a vote for would make no difference in the outcome. They however, did give up the opportnity to influence the conference committee version once the senate passes something.

      As far as people on the street — they just rejected the GOP in droves.

    10. Terje Canavarro says:

      We were taught in boot camp that one of the purposes of the USN is to keep the sea lanes open. That's why Thomas Jefferson sent us overseas where Muslim pirates were interrupting our trade. Why isn't our Navy doing that anymore?

    11. Kay S. Cape Coral, F says:

      When we hear all that the liberals are doing and we do not like it we need phone # to let them know how we feel. I listen to Rush and Glenn Beck telling us to make phone calls but I still have not found a working #

      Thank GOD for the Heritage Foundation Please let me know our nearest place to attend your meetings

    12. CR, Oklahoma City says:

      "We won" Nancy Pelosi

      "I Won" President Obama

      Such arrogance!

      Is that the way they see their responsibilities? As a contest to be won so that they can have their own way to promote their personal agendas?

      President Obama said he wants bipartisanship. He is disingenuous. He doesn't want bipartisanship, he wants the Republicans to agree with his agenda, and if they don't-well tough luck!

      One week after his inauguration-Obama has already drawn the line in the sand by presenting his socialist agenda without a willingness to work with the GOP.

    13. S.C.Smith, Birmingha says:

      Thank God for the Republican stand in the House to vote against this PORK Bill. I can only hope that the Republicans in the Senate have a backbone as well to vote against the Pork Bill unstimulus package. They have nothing to lose but their principles; maybe they'll realize that that is what will get them reelected.


    14. Dennis Social Circle says:

      So what is new???? This was a given from the start, obama spouted what the people wanted to here and the flocked to him like cattle to slaughter. Well the people have spoken, just hope our childre and grand children live long enough to pay for this huge mistake.

    15. Dennis Social Circle says:

      So what is new???? This was a given from the start, obama spouted what the people wanted to here and the flocked to him like cattle to slaughter. Well the people have spoken, just hope our children and grand children live long enough to pay for this huge mistake.

    16. CB, Northern Califor says:

      The price of Freedom is constant alertness and willingness to fight back!

      Too few of our affluent generations have been truthfully educated and not held to task because it seemed unnecessary and alarmist. I believe we are witnessing the end of the American self government experiment because those in power and the people lacked the maturity and PERSONAL responsibility to make the hard choices. Too many have lost confidence listening to the failed, envy filled taunts of the critics.

      The current federal government is so far gone, they cannot see nor change their views. The pain and suffering coming our way is unprecedented in the last century.

      The good news, expect a new anti-depressant coming your way all expenses paid by future generations.

      Heritage trully is one of the LAST hopes for Freedom and Liberty.

    17. John E Rosina, Borde says:

      Martin Feldstein (of Harvard – and Reagan fame)states we need to increased National spending and employment. Sounds like he yearns for the old days of Unionized pay scale and strong domestic consumption of the 1950's and 60's. I assure you the 60,000 laborers doing production work for GM in Matamoros, Mexico (work once done in the US) adds no value or improvement in domestic spending today. It just serves to enhance the wealth of the already wealthy.

      As is customary for advice givers, Martin does not say how to achieve his ends. May it be that when Harvard cannot DO Harvard retreats to TEACHING! Ronald Reagan and his deregulating trickle down economics added not one ounce of value added product to this once robust economy. I am certain Martin has not either! Just saying…. which is the same as what Martin has contributed.

      Please – lose the Conservative vs. liberal vs Republican vs. Democrat crap and start applying some useful common sense answers!

      This is just another invisible barrier to progress of any sort for the sake of ego and home team politics. $150 billion for an incompetent Wall Street financial firm – however, good idea! Right! Horse Bleep!

      Pardon my sour Harvard Grapes – or not!

    18. Cindy San Diego says:

      It seems only the conservatives are paying attention. When I ask my dem friends what they think of the stimulus package the only reply I have gotten is, I haven't looked at it. Most of them can't define socialism, yet my Canadian and German friends are sure we are already there. I fear the free market that made this country great is nearly destroyed and this package is the end of our great nation.

    19. David Peterson, Che says:

      It is amazing to me to watch the media and liberal Social-crats put the spin on this vote. They still insist that they are trying to be bipartisan. How is it bipartisan when the Pelosi led Social-crats kept the Republicans completely out of writing the bill, or even having any input? How is it bipartisan when even during his "visits to seek inputs" from the Republicans, the head Social-crat says "we won, so we get to choose"?

      What they are attempting to pass as "economic stimulus" is nothing but a massive implementation of every liberal dream. Social healthcare, "tax refunds" (translated as welfare or "redistribution") to people who don't even pay taxes, doubling government funding and control of the education system, etc. There is nothing anywhere in this plan that has even the slightest intent of meeting the President's own publicly stated definition of what he wants – immediate, effective and temporary. What IS in the plan is liberal control intended to increase the people's dependence on the government.

    20. CO Western NY says:

      So what can we DO?!?!

    21. V.Young Jax, Fl says:

      Stimulus pkg is beginning to look a lot like enable(ing)bad corp. management. The bonuses to these inadequate corp exec's came out of the pockets of the middle class Americans.

    22. Rickgyver, Central C says:

      Ever seen one? Mr. Obama is a turtle on a post! You know darned well he didn't get there on his own. He's just following DCCC instructions.

    23. Pingback: … « Rumiknit

    24. John E Rosina, Borde says:

      Heritage – you have a very captive audience. DC is correct when he points out just how the Repugnicans manuevered and kept the Democraps from adding to their bills. Remember the midnight house votes and turnibg off the microphones?

      I'll repeat – Republicans borrow and spend so as not to upset their anti tax base. That bill gets forwarded to our children and grandchildren. Democrats tax and spend. They ask the citizens to pay as you go.

      I don't like either one – but I love my kids and grandkids better than the Republicans appear to. My Pop always said to pay your bills.

      Lastly, many of your responders seem concerned about National Security in the midst of all this! As a Vietnam Veteran, I assure you that the former administration had a very different personal position on national security when they (Bush and Cheney) were capable of serving! Neither party holds a lock on National Security performance. Least of all, talking heads on the Radio!

    25. duelles, Santa Fe, N says:

      The winners turn into losers very fast. I see the Hous vote as the 1st step toward a massive congressional win for republicans, and makes me apreciate all the more Newt's strategy in the '90s.

      If a friend was in debt from spending unwisely, I would not help out by giving him/her more money. I would help stop the the bad habit. Downsize, sell assets, do without. For myself, I'm doing just that now. As a fourtunate "winner of life's lottery" ( Rich Gephart ) I sold my house in 2007, stopped woking (paying taxes) and am renting a small comfortable place to wait out this disgrace of leadership.

    26. truda nelson, el dor says:

      i am 78 years old, have a graduate degree and have NEVER seen such a socialist grab for power like what we are seeing now with the stimulus package. i have been watching politics for some 50 years, and believe that our wonderful country is now in more danger than it has ever been.

    27. Tom, Hilton Head, SC says:

      Well now. The donkeys are in power, and making a…s of themselves. My Dad told me that Obama will ruin the donkeys, I think he's correct. The donkeys are basically eating the seed corn; that is, they are going to kill business, which basically finances their programs. They are re-creating the same protectionist policies that lengthened the Great Depression. Why not reduce capital gains taxes, corporate income taxes? Why not reign in the enviro-nazis, and tell the Goracle to turn off the light in his Stately Manor, give up the limos and jets? Why do we hear the Obamessiah state that "Now is not the time for profits" as part of what he said the other day? Duhhhh let's see… if a business makes a profit, it will probably try to increase business by selling more stuff, maybe even… God forbid… hire more people! Has anyone ever heard of the difference between "value added" jobs as compared to "non-value added" jobs? The greater percentage of jobs as in the former makes it possible to add to the latter. We need more fishing, farming, mining, manufacturing and intellectual property creating jobs, as opposed to watering down the money by paying too many people to consume, yet not contribute to the economy. We need fewer lawyers and other parasites, and more producers of tangible wealth. The dollar is only worth what it is backed by, and that, folks, comes from any value added production, as opposed to "cutting each others' hair." People, wake up. It is NOT illegal to oppose the Power Pigs. I think we need another "Million Man March in Washington, DC, each with a pitchfork in hand as a symbol. (Hey you pitchfork makers, start cranking them out).

    28. Michael Causey in Co says:

      I remember my mom telling me at the dinner table that the only differences between the political parties were: (1) One was currently in charge while the other was responsible for all of the problems they were facing. (2) The party NOT in power spends their time confronting and accusing the other regardless of the issues involved. (3) NEITHER party has an insight on truth or relevance as "The only constant in life is change"

      Thank you for expressing your opinion. Thank you further for allowing me to express mine. As a former soldier representing America in Vietnam, I firmly believe that ALL of us should be prepared to die for OUR shared freedoms.

    29. John E Rosina, Borde says:

      Tom – from Hilton Head has is right about what generates economic growth, i.e. "value added" jobs that actually produce something. The error in most thinking today is that one party or the other has a lock on economic growth generation.

      Simply put; manufacturing of durable goods, developement of enery resources, and agriculture are big examples of this. The fed gov has spent the last 40 years writing UNFree Trade agreements that have sapped our middle income jobs. These agreements are "fast tracked" by allowing the President to single handedly dole out our job infrastructure to other nations with "no Congressional oversight". According to the Constitution it is Congresses duty to oversee and approve or disapprove these trade agreements. That's called taking a position, something our DC Hot Air Generators are reluctant to do.

      Working in "fascist" lockstep with our fed gov are the tycoons of big business. They have eaten the "seed Corn" Hilton Head speaks of by selling off our infrastructure to cheap labor markets, thus allowing those countries to perform the exact "value added" work we used to do – which makes those countries, like Communist China and India, for instance, richer and more upwardly mobile. Meanwhile, our so very PATRIOTIC wealthy business owners are getting richer transfering this labor and related technology. This has caused the middle class death spiral in the US.

      By the way, most of these American Shylocks are incorporated offshore or in the State of Delaware to escape paying taxes to our National Treasury.

      The congenitally shameless kids on Wall Street have nothing "value added" to offer our economy. They are just currency multipliers by profession and they are not very smart! They are very sly. They are eating your and my lunch.

      Forget the dizzy details and partisan politics and understand just this one point if nothing else: in the mid 1970's the upper 10% of Americas wealthy own 49% of her assets. In 2005, this same upper 10% owned 77% of the countries assets.

      Now; ask yourself again if it was the donkey or the pachaderm that ripped you off? Let's pull our collective heads out of our butts and tell the conservatives the liberals the truth about their intramural manipulations. They are not the least bit interested in you or I. They are interested in their personal gain and reelection only! And, oh yeah, they want to control your perceptions through the large corporate mass media, where clowns abound on all sides of the political spectrum..

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