Pass It Now Or We All Die!!!!

Then I’ll take a long weekend before signing it into law.

After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway.

Meet the boss, same as the old boss.

Yes I know that President Obama hasn’t taken as many vacation days. Yes I know the title is over the top. But it just highlights the ridiculous nature of all this. Rush, rush, rush to pass the bill….then take a long weekend before signing it into law. Sure a couple of days wouldn’t make a big difference. But if that is the case, then we didn’t the need to rush, rush, rush to pass the law.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. odograph says:

    I think OTB has been passing on a lot of substantive articles about the state of the world economies … only to pop up with “Pass It Now Or We All Die!!!!”

    I’ll give you this as a double-take for the day:

    Alex Tabarrok, of all people, says

    “I believe that bank nationalization is now very likely. It may even be desirable.”

    We are in deeper something than many would like to admit.

  2. markm says:

    We are in deeper something than many would like to admit.

    I think that’s a true statement based on some foreign economic figures being released as of late…but, if virtually everybody else is doing worse economically than we are, wouldn’t you think “stimulating” only our economy will lead to nothing but debt??…all rushing aside.

  3. Drew says:

    If things are really that serious, why the helter skelter process driven by Congressional political interests? Why even a dollar of pork? And why is it really Pelosi’s bill, not Obama’s? And why not a focus on the banks, instead of goods projects? And why the harmful protectionist provisions?

    Even Dr “Doom” Roubini has unemployment peaking at 9%. That’s not the end of the world as we know it. Its just a good stiff recession.

    After 9/11, when there was real fear in Washington, politics was set aside for awhile. Now?? This is just a garden variety pig roast.

  4. odograph says:

    There Mark, lies an interesting discussion. It seems ideologues are like workmen with tools. To a guy with a hammer, everything is a nail. Or perhaps something that isn’t a nail is that much harder to see. (What problem?)

    Democrats jump to see a economic contraction, because they’ve got the tool (spending), and Republicans are reluctant because their preferred tool (tax cutting) isn’t such a good fit.

    That doesn’t really favor either group .. though perhaps clocks stopped in different positions are “right” at different times.

    I think we are closer to the stopped Democratic clock at this point, than the Republican one.

  5. odograph says:

    Oh, add (re. Drew’s question) that Congress isn’t necessarily smart about any of their stock positions. The map of the trench warfare is not necessarily the map of the problem.

  6. Davebo says:

    One day it’s the gripe that Obama broke a campaign pledge by not waiting five days to sign the bill and today it’s that he waited over a weekend to sign it.

    I think I’m going to need a program to keep up.

  7. just me says:

    Honestly, I think congress should have taken the weekend, debated and voted on the thing today, and then Obama could have easily signed it tomorrow.

    I doubt the extra 24 hours would have caused the world to end.

    It also would have given those in congress who wanted to read the bill actual time to do so before voting,

  8. Drew says:

    That’s not really a response, odo. Mine is a legitimate question.

    When 9/11 occurred I was in New York. (My wife was literally crossing the Triboro on her way in with my daughter for a photo shoot.) Maybe the feeling of trauma was more acute because we were there. But it seems to me there was genuine fear and concern in mainstream America and in Washington. And there was a coming together and no BS in the machinations in Washington.

    Today? I see no such dynamic. Schuler has correctly pointed out that the political process is what it is. But what just transpired was an embarrassment.

    You can’t have it both ways. It can’t be a crisis that will spiral out of control if we don’t do this, but then turn around and wallow in wasteful pork politics as usual in the bill.

    These guys tell us the house is on fire, and then spend their time, and our money, ordering new landscaping. Ridiculous.

  9. odograph says:

    Maybe we aren’t looking at it from the same perspective, Drew. I’m looking at Steve’s headline as typical of the “I see nothing” side in the political trenches. I see fewer (anyone?) who does actually believe “Pass It Now Or We All Die!!!!”

    I mean, maybe there was that kind of worry when Paulson first went to Congress, but I think it is fair to say less so now.

    What we’ve got now is a real problem, magnitude uncertain, and then this political fight that ranges around over the same territory.

    The bill we got is at least semi-bad. Give me a line item veto and I could probably clean it up (or could you) … but what I’m getting at is that no one will because the political battle is not really joined with the practical issues.

  10. David Harris says:

    Love the reference, Steve. I was listening to The Who this weekend and had the exact same thought when that song came on. How is this stuff any different? Fear and intimidation from the White House is the same, regardless of topic.

  11. Drew says:

    odo –

    Steve’s obvious hyperbole is just a blog post attention grabber, and something a blogger can get away with. If you read his stuff you know he’s not an “I see nothing” guy.

    The problem with Obama and Congress, as I see it, is 1) this is a serious recession – similar to 58/74/82 – and there are actions that can be taken, specifically and most effectively wrt the banking system. But what is taking place will only be marginally effective and is unseemly, if not dangerous politics 2) invoking “catastrophe,” as Obama has, is not something leaders do. Save the blatant hyperbole for guys like me who can get away with it. Attempting to scare the everyday guy in pursuit of political gains is just crass, if not ghoulish.

    These are real people with real jobs and kids etc dependent on the functioning of the economy. Obama has miserably flunked his first test of leadership.

  12. odograph says:

    You understand of course that tomorrow he gets to say “ah well, that’s over.”

    I’m not really sure what the best way to deal with “animal spirits” really is (I want to read Shiller’s new book). It could be that the political theater of a needed bill, then a passed bill, then television opportunities of projects starting and jobs created will create a narrative.

    Whatever you think of net jobs, there will certainly be actual jobs with photo-ops.

  13. odograph says:

    BTW Steve ;-), you wouldn’t flip to fearmongering at some point would you? If the Pres said we were on the road to recovery?