Friday, September 9, 2011

"I Have Serious Concerns About the Level of Spending"

This was not John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulter. This was freshman West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin's take on the proposed $450 billion in new stimulus spending. It is also bad news, because Manchin has become a bell cow for the moderate Democrats in terms of Obama proposals.

Obama proposed vast sums for infrastructure improvement, payroll tax cuts, and other measures designed to prime the economic pump. But most remain wary because he promised this before. To be honest, had he actually spent the last stimulus on the "shovel ready" jobs that he claimed it was for, that might have actually worked and benefited communities at the same time. Instead, it went to groups that supported Obama and bureaucrats.

Obama's proposals were promised serious merit by Speaker Boehner, and Obama must be prepared to see House Republicans and Senate Democrats tinker and hash over his ideas. Republicans will likely push to divert money from other areas to cover the bill as much as possible. I would not be surprised to see Postal Service relief become part of this measure at the end of the day, although that needs to come with serious changes, if not complete privatization.

Of course, Obama would not be Obama without moments of condescension, as when he lectured everyone that they had to "step their game up," whatever that means. It is not the private sector that he needs to lecture. If government would remove the weights and shackles from our private sector, particularly energy production, we could compete much more effectively in the game of commerce and manufacturing. We still wait to hear him propose total relief from the regulations that his administration is using to strangle our economy.

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