Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
STIMULUS UPDATE....Jake Tapper reports that Barack Obama wants to hit the ground running, stimulus-wise:
Democratic sources tell ABC News that President-elect Obama's transition team is working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill so that on Obama's first day in office, Jan. 20, 2009, an economic stimulus package has passed both houses of Congress and is awaiting his signature.
And how big will the package be? The Washington Post speculates:
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), an Obama adviser, and Harvard economist Lawrence H. Summers, whom Obama has chosen to lead his White House economic team, both raised the possibility of $700 billion in new spending. Yesterday, Obama adviser and former Clinton administration Labor secretary Robert Reich and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) also called for spending in the range of $500 billion to $700 billion.
....Austan Goolsbee, a spokesman for Obama on economic issues who is in line to serve on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, yesterday acknowledged that Obama's jobs plan will cost substantially more than the $175 billion stimulus program he proposed during the campaign. "This is as big of an economic crisis as we've faced in 75 years. And we've got to do something that's up to the task of confronting that," Goolsbee said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I don't know what the exact number is, but it's going to be a big number."
This is a welcome sign of pragmatism from Obama's team, but not everyone is happy. Check this out:
"Democrats can't seem to stop trying to outbid each other with the taxpayers' money," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. "We're in tough economic times. Folks are hurting. But the American people know that more Washington spending isn't the answer."
Jeebus. No wonder Republicans have lost 50 House seats in the past two elections. There's not even a hint that Boehner realizes we're facing a massive financial meltdown, not just business as usual. Somebody asked him about a Democratic spending plan, so he consulted the index cards that have been implanted in his brain for the past 30 years and spit out a robotic statement decrying "Washington spending." How out of touch can you get?