Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
What I have a problem with is the disingenuous approach to the legislative process that Obama and so many congressional Democrats seem to have adopted.Only about 10 percent of the stimulus dollars have been spent. The bill was intended to disperse spending over the next few years. If the time frame was not so dire, why rush the bill through? If the idea was to get money flowing immediately, then why not craft a consensus bill, take the time necessary to work across the aisle (yet another unfulfilled campaign promise), and work language into the final version of the bill that would release a larger amount of money into the economy in order to compensate for lost time?The rush to get the stimulus through smacks of attempts to enact vast social and economic change under the guise of recovery (hence Rahm's infamous 'never let a crisis go to waste' comment). Not that this is by any means a new tactic. I'm sure we will be reading about similar tactics employed by FDR, who used economic recovery programs to redistribute wealth, empower labor unions, consolidate political support, and centralize industrial production. Bush 43 arguably used a crisis, 9/11, to promote his foreign policy agenda and enact extra-constitutional policies with the stated goal of combating terrorism.I think that Obama wanted to get the stimulus passed as quick as possible not so money could start flowing into the economy, but rather so that he could begin talk of a second stimulus sooner, and could further enhance the economic power of the federal government.I don't agree with this objective, but some do. Its merits are irrelevant to my point, which is that the administration misled the country in to passing a spending bill to centralize political power, not to save the economy (and they are certainly not one and the same).
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