Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Federal Spending Legislation

There's a controversial funding bill working its way through both houses of Congress. Lori Montgomery's got the summary in this morning's Post, here.

The point-of-contention is whether the federal government's bigger priority should be (A) spending to stimulate job creation or (B) deficit reduction. According to Montgomery, President Obama is being accused of inconsistency because he is pushing for an additional $50 million stimulus for state and local governments while simultaneously calling for big-picture reductions in federal spending.

This is a tough one for me.  Printing more money to solve current problems does not seem like a viable long-term solution -- my post about Europe's decision to take this approach is here.
President Obama urged reluctant lawmakers Saturday to quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments, saying the money is needed to avoid "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters" and to support the still-fragile economic recovery.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama defended last year's huge economic stimulus package, saying it helped break the economy's free fall, but argued that more spending is urgent and unavoidable. "We must take these emergency measures," he wrote in an appeal aimed primarily at members of his own party.

The letter comes as rising concern about the national debt is undermining congressional support for additional spending to bolster the economy. Many economists say more spending could help bring down persistently high unemployment, but with Republicans making an issue of the record deficits run up during the recession, many Democratic lawmakers are eager to turn off the stimulus tap.
446. Which American political leader does the best job of thinking about long-term solutions?

447. Where does Tom Perriello stand on this piece of spending legislation?  I respect his analysis and will be interested to see if he takes a position on this, particularly in light of the quickly developing campaign against Robert Hurt.

The US deficit now stands at $13 trillion (a number beyond my ability to grasp), so I'm genearlly on-board with the deficit hawks who say that the number one priority should be getting government spending under control.  I understand the desire to print more money for the sake of saving jobs, but I wish the Congress would do a better job of simultaneously finding -- and cutting -- excess spending when they pass these massive new spending bills.  At this point, I do not get the sense that the Democratic leadership is doing a sufficient job of the "cutting" half of the equation.

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