Over and over again during the height of the debate over the necessity of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama administration maintained that unemployment would not reach eight percent, and argued that the $787 billion be spent quickly so as to facilitate economic recovery. Republicans and conservatives like myself who responded by saying that, even assuming that the Keynesian approach would work, the money would not be spent quick enough to make a difference were chided and dismissed as merely sowing the seeds of obstructionism.
Fast forward to early June, and unemployment is nearing ten percent, and according to Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economic adviser, only $44 billion has been spent. The video above is from a press conference yesterday — only now have I had time to address it. The exchange–besides illustrating a point I made about the media earlier today–is extremely telling, both with regard to how the White House forced the so-called “stimulus” package on the American people under false pretenses, as well as how sorely lacking in common sense this administration truly is:
NBC’s Chuck Todd: “So you said you spent a billion dollars a day, so obviously minus $800 billion is about $700 billion left to be spent of the stimulus? Is that a fair–”
Jared Bernstein: “Well, just to be precise, it’s actually a matter of obligating about a billion dollars per day. We’re up to about $135 billion in terms of obligations.”
Todd: “Obligated, not necessarily spent yet.”
Bernstein: “Right. Spent out is closer to $44 billion.”
Todd: “How much of this summer are you obligating now to this specific 600,000–”
Bernstein: “We’re unable to make that estimate at this point.”