January 28th, 2009
07:47 PM ET

Top Democrat – should we break up the stimulus plan?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/28/obama.first.week/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="The economy has been the main focus of the first week of President Obama's presidency."]
Alec MacGillis
The Washington Post

In testimony before the House Budget Committee yesterday, Alice M. Rivlin, who was President Bill Clinton's budget director, suggested splitting the plan, implementing its immediate stimulus components now and taking more time to plan the longer-term transformative spending to make sure it is done right.

"Such a long-term investment program should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package. The elements of the investment program must be carefully planned and will not create many jobs right away," said Rivlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The risk, she said, is that "money will be wasted because the investment elements were not carefully crafted."


Filed under: Alec MacGillis • Barack Obama • Economy • Raw Politics
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Grady Nosley

    know that we all can't agree on everything but the comment I left at approx 2:30 Am on the 29th 0f Jan is just as valid a response as those that believed Reagan was a hero. Reagan like ALL other republicans leaves the country in a fickle and as I stated earlier this morning for all the republicans that did not vote for the stimulous hopefully the nation will truly understand that if you're not rich they really have no interest in you.

    January 29, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  2. Rod Torrez

    Taxcuts? We don't need no stinking taxcuts. Infrastructure projects=jobs. You can't give tax cuts to the unemployed.

    January 29, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  3. Gay McArthur

    President Obama has extended the olive branch to republicans to see what the outcome would be.He said he wouldn't get 100% . He was really saying he knew in the meeting that the house republicans vote had already been cast to show strength from their weakness . He knew that not all republicans or democrats would vote for the stimulus package the way it was sent to the house.
    It is easy to fight over politics when you still have your job, home,food,etc and you fight for principal,your politics and not the SURVIVAL of their families. Are they worried about their jobs in2010

    January 29, 2009 at 5:51 am |
  4. Maxwell Sandford

    Hey Japan went through these troubles and a succession of Prime Ministers in the 90s, all to no avail. You have to be an idiot to believe that you can borrow money to correct problems that were caused by lending money to people who cannot pay it back.

    Barack and Congress will have to pay back the borrowed trillion in currency that is reduced in value. Isn't that simply shifting the problem to a new one? That's exactly what happened to the Yen and nobody here seems to be paying attention.

    January 29, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  5. carolyn

    I think the stimulus plan should be given a poor grade. The amount of money that is planned for the arts, Smithsonian renovations and education is a poor budget. The ones who voted for the plan should be able to disagree if the plan is not a good one for all Americans – and go back to the drawing board and get it right. The stimulus package should be broken down. Supposedly Washington has some of the best financial minds and should be able to come up with a plan that is honest and budget wise for all citizens. I am so tired of the party whining. I am an American, and want what is best for everyone. Get the plan in place to keep jobs (job sharing, adjust benefits, etc.), incentives to help companies keep growing and not go under. I think we need to do a lot of praying for our country.

    January 29, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  6. Reba Rogers - Waco TX

    Stimulous Package – it is too massive. Should have be done in phases, starting with most critical to stimulate economy and save these people losing their homes. When phase 1 is approved, move on to phase 2 of the package; when passed go to the next. A package as massive as this one, is too big and confusing for anyone to understand.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  7. Patrick

    Rivlin thinking in right way. Our politicians havent even read the bill and hastily voting on it. What do you expect from them? Dont call pet projects stimulus.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  8. Claudette, Yonkers, NY

    Why not bail out the people who are hurting and stop the foreclosures? People need money to spend NOW. I did not hear this debate when money was being appropriated for the wars. The banks need to be forced to freeze foreclosure proceedings and add the arrears to the end of the mortgage. This would give everybody breathing space and prevent the economic free fall. While the debate rages people are losing their homes. This happening in real time.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  9. Gail

    Lisa, after no votes for the stimulas package from the Rebublican party, they are invited to the white house for a little coctail party and show and tell of the red white and blue rooms.... or some such colors, Isn't that nice, people loosing their jobs and unable to feed the family and we have a white house coctail party >) This too...... is our money is it not? Obama paying for the drinks? someone tell me

    January 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  10. Jerald Crow

    I disapprove of the bailout and some parts of the stimulous plan. The bailout seems to me to be rewarding the thieves and punishing the victims. Wall Street and the big banks gambled and lost. Why should we have to pay to bail them out. Let them go into bankruptcy.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  11. Rosemary Bolton

    Who is goining to rejuvenate the Smithsonian? Robots? Who is going to fix the schools? Robots? The Republications sound petulant and not too smart. Once they see what happens with this package, I hope they have rhe manners to admit that they were wrong.
    Barack DON'T BACK DOWN!!!

    January 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Gail

    I got 5th graders who say this package will not stimulate the economy. President Barack needs to cut the pork and stop busting the kids chops.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  13. John

    What really irked me was the smile on Nancy Pelosi's face announcing the passing of the bill. She will single handidly derail President Obama. Obama knows this bill will not work without consensus. United we stand divided we fall. Shame on the house.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  14. mary

    A truly stimulus package should have NO pork. That doesn't help America. That only helps politicians special interests.
    let's cut the pork and get down to real help for America.
    As a republican I want to see Obama succeed so America suceeds. This pakage won't do it.

    January 28, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  15. Jeremy Shepherd

    I really would like to know and get others opinions on what a stimulus package that gave the monies to the American people. would look like...I have heard over and over that this is enough money to give everyone in America 200K....I have tried to wrap my head around that all day and it seems to me that it might have a much better result then 335m for sexually transmitted diease education, 650m for digital TV coupons, 50m for the Arts, 600m for new government vehicles, and 400m for climate change....I know that I would use it to clear up some debt, make home improvements, be a consumer and would allow me to start a new business where I could hire some new employees and help to create more jobs....there would be those that did not spend it and invest it but then wouldn't that be a positive because they would be investing in other companies and that to me would seem like a much better plan then what has been proposed...I am no expert and I am asking what negative effects could that have????

    January 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  16. Mari in NW Indiana

    I am very supportive of a stimulus package......however, with all I've heard this week about the input & arguing in Washington over it, their final revealed ideas have turned out to be worse than a martini made with cheap vodka. It's time to start over again and this time, it'd be nice to keep the working middle class in mind.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  17. Tim Gittens

    I like this idea. This bill should be split into stimulus (now) and spending (long term) Also, if the first half of the TARP was sent to banks and they created no more lending, then the US Gov't should use the second half to refinance mortgates at low rates by themselves. Take the banks out of the equation! When Americans start going to the Gov't for the low rates and they start loosing even more business, I am sure they will want to be part of it. Also, if that doesn't entice them, then the Gov't can start lending to businesses so businesses can get the working capital they need to fund their projects, growth and payroll. This will slow down layoffs across small and large businesses. These are the areas that need to be addressed.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  18. Malcolm Moore

    EXCELLENT IDEA. That is the smartest thing I have heard all day. I am however saddened to learn the the Republicans played politics as usual wasting President Obama's time by plannig to vote against the stimulus before they even met with him to discuss the alternative ideas. SHAME ON THEM for once again forgetting that I trust and support Obama not those who play politics.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  19. Annie Kate

    Finally someone with some practical sense about them. I think the whole package should be held up though. I don't see any real plans behind this bill except throwing more good money after bad. I would like to see a broad plan to update our infrastructure so we and our children get something for the money we are going to be paying back for the rest of our lives. And while tax cuts and stimulus money is nice it didn't work the first time and I see no reason for it to work this time. As good as Obama is doing right now I would hate to see him blow this opportunity to rebuild America because once his economic stimulus plan fails he's not going to get another chance to put out a better planned one. Instead of repenting in leisure for what we have done in haste lets be smart for once and actually make some achievable plans and tie them to specific milestones and delivery so that our success or failure can be measured and we know where the money all went.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  20. Louise

    I would like to see the 335m for sexually transmitted diease education, 650m for digital TV coupons, 50m for the Arts, 600m for new government vehicles, and 400m for climate change removed from the stimulus package. This stimulus package was suppose to be about JOBS. I do NOT see the benefit of these programs creating a wealth of JOBS.

    My children, and grandchildren will have to pay this money back, it will come out of their paychecks. Please be responsible.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  21. Scott Highet

    why aren't the finacial institutions who hold mortage notes, that have received government bail out money forced to rewrite all mortgages at 4%. I know that pesonaly this would save me around $300 a month to spend on other things to boost economy. I'm sick of bailing out the bankers. This would really put the money where it belongs!

    January 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  22. Lisa

    Umm, duh. I also wonder if Obama is going to hold firm on the "no pork" and bipartisan talk and veto it as it a) does most likely contain pork, and b) there was no Republican consensus on it. This will truly be his first test. What he opts to do will definitely impact future exchanges.

    January 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  23. Arachnae

    Please, when covering this issue, give some time to actual economists who know what kinds of spending provide more economic stimulus than others. Just giving each political party a say isn't very helpful; you know they're going to disagree, and there's actual objective truth out there that we should be hearing, and we're not.

    There's a story on money.cnn.com that tells us that food stamps and unemployment benefits provide more than a dollar stimulus for a dollar spent, and stories elsewhere (economy.com) that tell us that corporate tax cuts yield less than a dollar stimulus for every dollar lost.

    Just providing time to republicans and democrats to make their competing claims is 'inside baseball' gossip – give us the info on what really works, rather than what politicians CLAIM will work.

    Please. This is too important to just cover the 'horserace' aspects of it.

    January 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  24. Larry Keller

    How many of the House Republican's ideas were incorporated into the House stimulus package? The House Republican House leadership claims they were completely shut out. If this is true has the House Democratic leadership not heeded President Obama's call for inclusion? Regardless the partisan vote is very dissappointed.

    January 28, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  25. Cindy

    Hey Rivlin's idea sounds great to me!! Splitting the package up would get the necessary monies out there and then the other projects they can really work on and make sure that it is done right before we waste any more money!


    January 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm |