Obama On Stimulus: I'm Open To Ideas
by Josh Orton, Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:31:40 AM EST
Obama's stimulus rollout hasn't received such a glowing reception so far. The reaction from Democratic Senators has ranged from disappointed ("like trickle-down" - Harkin) to guarded ("...nothing written in stone" - Reid). Smart economists like Krugman have two central concerns: the overall size of the package is too small, and the included tax cuts won't help the economy (or appease enough Republicans to justify their inclusion).
Krugman's column today didn't mince words, either:
Whatever the explanation, the Obama plan just doesn't look adequate to the economy's need. To be sure, a third of a loaf is better than none. But right now we seem to be facing two major economic gaps: the gap between the economy's potential and its likely performance, and the gap between Mr. Obama's stern economic rhetoric and his somewhat disappointing economic plan.
Asked about such criticisms today, Obama said he holds "no pride of authorship" and is open to ideas:
There's two interpretations to what might be going on. The optimistic take says that Obama's letting Democrats and Republicans alike tweak parts of his proposal, work through the legislative process, and emerge with a productive consensus package that everyone can take credit for. The pessimistic interpretation says that Obama undershot, doesn't have much room to increase the package, and hasn't quite adapted to his role as quarterback - because letting Congress off the leash will just produce an inadequate package. We'll know soon.