By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog
The Obama administration is hoping that senators will see the new jaw-dropping unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, which was just released this morning hours before the Senate is scheduled to start voting on the stimulus bill. The new unemployment numbers add some urgency to the already-rushed vote Sen. Reid wants to hold before lawmakers leave on recess.
But here's the video I'd like the senators to see before they vote on the stimulus:
My eighth grader walked into the office while I was viewing this, and it dawned on me that having a mathematician explain how big a trillion dollars is—in terms that a child can understand—is actually quite appropriate to the debate. When the video was over, she got it. Let me get this right, she said, if we spent a million dollars a day every day since Jesus was born, we still wouldn't have spent a trillion dollars yet? Right, I said.
"Well, how can we possibly afford to do that? " she asked.
It's important for young people to understand the magnitude of this proposal. Have all the politicians forgotten that it's the next generation of kids who are going to have to pay for all this?
What would happen if each Senator had to explain the stimulus bill to a class of sixth graders?
Massive deficit spending certainly isn't what President Obama campaigned on with young people. Rich Lowry writes a great blog today on the difference between Obama's stimulus arguments and the policies he campaigned on:
If he had pledged in October to double federal domestic discretionary spending in a matter of weeks—including increasing the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts by a third, spending hundreds of millions more on federal buildings and throwing tens of billions on every traditional liberal priority from job training to Pell Grants—he'd have been hard-pressed to win at all.
The president should read the transcript of the third presidential debate. He claimed his program represented "a net spending cut." He called himself "a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches." He added, "We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don't work."
Lowry's right—President Obama's use of the "I won" argument only works if he campaigned on the stimulus package and won a broad mandate for it. But he didn't. The fact is candidate Obama campaigned on pay-as-you-go programs and tax cuts for 95 percent of the American people. When he talked about "the urgency of now," this isn't what we thought he meant.
A trillion dollars borrowed from future generations is not the kind of "change" people thought they were voting for—and it's definitely not the change all those young people want.
On Facebook? You can keep up with Thomas Jefferson Street blog postings through Facebook's Networked Blogs