Monday, July 9, 2012

Prepare yourself for the Republican attack on Obama's stimulus

Apparently the Republicans are planning to launch an attack on President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Program (the stimulus bill) this week.
Republicans will open a new line of attack on President Barack Obama this week, invoking the economic stimulus program and various renewable energy projects that fell short of their job-creation goals or, in some instances, may have benefited foreign companies and workers.

The Republican National Committee will unveil a new website and host events meant to “turn the tables’’ on Mr. Obama – in particular his effort to paint Republican challenger Mitt Romney as a callous business executive who profited from moving jobs overseas, according to a person familiar with the GOP initiative.
This is another one of President Obama's accomplishments that has been undermined by both the left and the right. As a consequence, most Americans are pretty ill-informed about its impact. And due to the polarization in our media sources, it can be difficult to find information to counter the charges.

The right wing in politics tends to focus their attacks - as is indicated above - on phony charges of corruption in how the stimulus money was distributed. And from the left, we mostly hear an economics argument about how it wasn't big enough.

But if you'd like a good review of just what the stimulus bill accomplished, I'd like to introduce you to what I consider the expert on that topic - Michael Grunwald with Time Magazine. He literally wrote the book on it (to be released in August).

I was first introduced to Grunwald by a piece he wrote back in August 2010 titled How the Stimulus is Changing America. I highly recommend that you read the whole article. But here's a bit to give you an idea about his point.
Politically, it's awkward to argue that things would have been even worse without the stimulus, even though that's what most nonpartisan economists believe. But the battle over the Recovery Act's short-term rescue has obscured its more enduring mission: a long-term push to change the country. It was about jobs, sure, but also about fighting oil addiction and global warming, transforming health care and education, and building a competitive 21st century economy. Some Republicans have called it an under-the-radar scramble to advance Obama's agenda — and they've got a point.

Yes, the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more. But in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Obama's effusive Recovery Act point man, "Now the fun stuff starts!" The "fun stuff," about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future.
After finishing his book, Grunwald is now back to writing a regular column at Time. So after checking out the article above, my suggestion is that we keep an eye on what he writes over the next few weeks as the RNC attempts to open up this new line of attack on President Obama.

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