The Rosett Report

Why Are We Still Calling It a "Stimulus" Bill?

Loud and clear, from President Obama himself, it is now official. In trying to squelch critics who say the $900 billion congressional pork pie is not a “stimulus,” but a spending bill — Obama confirmed on Thursday that yes, indeed, this is all about spending:

“What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously, that’s the point.”

OK. But if the whole aim is spending, then why are we all calling it a “stimulus” bill? The “stimulus” tag actually refers to a highly debatable prediction based on the dodo theories of Keynesian economics. The basic premise is that the government will spend your money more wisely than you will. And if you believe that … Although, as the Weekly Standard points out, Obama seems confused even on this point, because such Keynesian “stimulus” is supposed to be a short-term effort to counter a downturn. This bill is more like a long-range effort to start re-engineering the entire economy to live in a condition of constant state “stimulus”  — which in this case seems to be a hybrid: socialism laced with plain old pork.

In this new system, there will be no more over-spending by private consumers, because the Obama administration and Congress will elbow in to engage in over-spending on our behalf. Private excess is out, public excess is in. You pay, someone else spends. It used to be called central planning, and it has a record of creating massive inefficiencies, waste, pervasive corruption and poverty. But with oracular certainty, Obama informs us that his plans for colossal state spending will “create” two million, or three million, or pick-a-number-million jobs, and warns us, in similarly round numbers, of the pick-a-number-million jobs that will be lost if Americans don’t pony up $900,000,000,000 for the government to spend. Where will that money come from? Taxes — which kill jobs. Or the government printing press, a.k.a inflation, which hurts almost everyone, but takes its biggest toll on the poor –who can least afford to hedge against it.

With this bill, there is no guarantee of “stimulus” for anyone but the spenders. There is, however, a definite guarantee of spending… and spending… and spending. So, why not call it what it is? “The Spending Bill.”