Seven-hundred eighty-seven billion dollars apparently doesn’t go as far as it used to. Even before the ink was dry on the stimulus bill, the president and his deputies were hinting it may not work as promised.
Last week, when President Obama was in Peoria, Ill., selling the stimulus bill, he heaped praise on the spending plan, calling it a “once-in-a-generation chance to act boldly” that would “be a major step forward on our path to economic prosperity.”
He predicted that “once Congress passes this plan and I sign it into law, a new wave of innovation, activity and construction will be unleashed all across America.”
Now with the $787 billion on the books — an amount greater than the entire federal budget in 1982 — the administration is suddenly in full expectation-lowering mode, throwing out strong hints that it may have to go back for second helpings in a matter of months.
“Signing Stimulus, Obama Doesn’t Rule Out More,” is how the New York Times put it. And, indeed, Obama sounded almost dour about the bill he had so aggressively pushed to get passed.
Gone was all the bold talk of unleashing innovation and activity. Now it’s just “the beginning of what we need to do.”
Obama deputies were even more downbeat. Last weekend, after the bill was safely through Congress, administration press secretary Robert Gibbs predicted that the “economy is going to get worse before it gets better.”
Geez, talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy!