Stimulus Spin

It’s about 3 months to the midterms, which means one thing: free entertainment for political junkies. The economy is going to be a big issue in these elections, and the wisdom and efficacy of the $787 billion stimulus passed in 2009 is going to be a big economic policy question. To quote a prescient observer from early last year:

If the 2010 economy is strong, for whatever reason, Democrats are likely to do well, and Republicans poorly, irrespective of the outcome of the “stimulus” debate. On the other hand, a weak economy will profit the Republicans, but only to the extent they can offer a coherent critique of the Democrat handling of the economy.

If the “stimulus” passes over Republican objections, Republicans in 2010 can blame the … weak economy on Democrat policies; this message will be consistent with their earlier opposition to the “stimulus” plan. This is the “we told you so” scenario.

If the “stimulus” is defeated because of Republican opposition (i.e. a filibuster) then Democrats will be able to blame Republican obstructionism for the weak state of the economy.

I see that Democrats are now bravely attempting to spin the first scenario into the second; VP Biden is claiming that “the Recovery Act was undersized because the White House shrunk the economic stimulus package to win Republican votes in Congress to pass it.” (That’s a quote from the Politico story, not Biden himself.) That’s … well, I guess you have to do the best you can with a bad situation. I don’t think the “$787 billion just wasn’t enough dammit!” line is going to fly, though.

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