Barack Obama's "my way or the highway" approach to governing is getting old.
In its latest iteration, Obama is calling on Congress to pass immediately the jobs proposal he laid out in a speech to a joint session of Congress last Thursday but failed to produce as legislative proposal until a White House pep rally Monday morning.
The plan not only could be called "Stimulus II," it is likely to work about as well as the first one did—which means not at all. A rehash of policy proposals Obama has already put forward and which Congress has already rejected, it seeks more spending, wants to put the unemployed temporarily on the government payroll and raise taxes to pay for most all of it.
The most galling thing about the whole business, however, is the president's insistence that Congress pass the bill right away, as he said more than few times during his speech. Without a thorough congressional review of the proposal, Congress will have to pass the bill before the American people will know what's in it.
Sound familiar? The White House's strategy to get the bill passed is eerily similar to the one used to get Obamacare enacted. Talk a lot about what the bill is supposed to do but keep the American people in the dark as to the details.
This is not a way to run a railroad. Passing the bill right away, before even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has a chance to figure out how much it will cost, is a recipe for disaster.
The thumbnail analysis of the legislation currently circulating in Washington says the plan will require at least $450 billion in new taxes, something that is not necessarily going to help improve things in an economy that may be on the edge of a double-dip recession. The president's proposal to continue the temporary payroll tax cut creates problems for Social Security, reducing the amount of money flowing into the trust fund which, as the trustees have reported on more than one occasion, is headed towards bankruptcy.
The president has lost the privilege of being taken at his word. Stimulus I wasn't as shovel-ready "as we thought," he said earlier this year. People who like their current health insurance won't necessarily be able to keep it despite what he promised time and again during the debate over ObamaCare. Stimulus II is, therefore, no different and needs to be examined closely before Congress takes action on it.
There are plenty of reasons to say, "wait a second--we need to take a look at this bill and see if there are ways to make it better or more effective and to make sure there isn't anything in it that is going to make the jobs situation worse rather than better." The tax hikes may produce less investment in the economy. The reduction in funds going into the Social Security Trust Fund may make the debt problem worse. The incentives for businesses to hire new workers may not be strong enough to convince them to do so in light of the regulatory onslaught nearly everyone agrees is heading down the pike. There's no rush. Obama took more than 900 days to develop this latest jobs plan. Congress can take a week or two to look at it closely.