Joltin’ Joe Biden defends economic stimulus program

July 26, 2009

If you thought the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus program was meant to provide one big jolt to the economy, you’ve got it all wrong, Vice President Joe Biden says.

“The act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period — not a jolt that would last only a few months,” he wrote in an op-ed piece in Sunday’s New York Times.

More than a third of it is tax cuts for 95 percent of working Americans, he says. Another chunk of it goes for extended unemployment insurance and healthcare for those hardest hit by the recession.

GEORGIA-BIDEN/“The bottom line is that two-thirds of the Recovery Act doesn’t finance ‘programs,’ but goes directly to tax cuts, state governments and families in need, without red tape or delays,” Biden says.

The final third of the funds goes for infrastructure projects, including what the vice president calls the “largest investment in roads since the creation of the Interstate highway system.”

So no big economic jolt — more of a big long-run infusion.

But hang on, says Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. That’s not how the Obama administration sold the package to the public.

President-elect Obama said in November there was consensus among conservative and liberal economists that “we need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape.”

At the end of March, Biden told a gathering in Chile the recently passed Recovery Act “provides a necessary jolt to our economy to implement what we refer as ‘shovel-ready projects.”

And as late as June, he was telling business leaders in New York the stimulus package was “an initial big jolt to give the economy a real head start.”

Stewart suggests the vice president’s op-ed is aimed at resetting “the purpose of the trillion-dollar stimulus bill, I guess to help explain why unemployment continues to go up.”

But Biden isn’t the first to say the stimulus was a longer-term program. The White House back in May referred to the Recovery Act as a two-year program.

And Obama said in his weekly radio address a couple of weeks ago it “was not designed to work in four months — it was designed to work over two years.”

So what do you think? Is the administration changing its tune on how fast the stimulus was expected to work?

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili (Biden speaking to the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi July 23)

10 comments

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The stimulus plan cannot over come eight years of mis- management by the Bush Administration and a republican lead congress. The politics is whats killing our country. The republicans are evil and work against common Americans and democrats fight over details that do not amount to much. I support Obama and feel he will come closer to getting it right than the party of “NO” and the crazy-crats.

Posted by Rick Huffman | Report as abusive

Depends. The stimulus obvously isnt working as well as it was advertised. But I think Biden qualified this particular statement when he said “that would last only a few months”. that would be consistent with what was said all along. But I guess the word ‘jolt’ is what is causing the issue.

Posted by tallgy187 | Report as abusive

Hmm…The cover of the new Newsweek declares the recession is over…OK…but the “experts” are all saying unemployment will stay high for another 12-18 months. Is it a coincidence that that is the 2-year mark? And that recessions generally last…about 2 years? Ha ha. They got us.

Posted by Marty | Report as abusive

No, the administration didn’t change its tune. The media and the critics changed what the public heard.

President Obama said from the start that the stimulus would be spent years not months. He said it would get worse before it got better. He said unemployement is a lagging indicator and would continue to rise even after the package started to create jobs.

But its a 24 hour news cycle, we need the next story because we cant be expected to remember what was said last week let alone who said what in February. So along comes June and July and suddenly the President is a liar and a fraud because the package hasn’t fixed everything thats wrong with this country yet.

Only in America can we be so arrogant and so clueless to think something as mind-bogglingly complex as our globally linked economy could be fixed in a matter of months. NEWS FLASH: 2 years is a quick fix when talking about our nations economy.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

Surprisingly, Joe Biden is really growing on me. I mean I’d never vote for him for any office — but I like the guy.

Everytime he opens his mouth, WITHOUT FAIL, he adds that sort of Hogan’s Heroes/Colonel Clink type comedy to the otherwise bummer of a lie/cheat/steal Obama administration.

Definitely. I’d much rather tip a Bud light with Biden than Obama. I’d even buy. He could pick out his favorite bar in Kandahar’s sister city — Scranton — and I’d meet him there.

The heck with only one beer, I’d spring for pitchers and shots of tequila. Then after getting pie faced we could have the fun of fighting our way clear to the Scranton/USA border and freedom — maybe even ride cheetahs together to get out, like Harold and Kumar. Then when Joe later claims he rode a cheetah to get out of Scranton I could say, “On this one, incredibly, he’s telling the truth!”

God definitely likes Joe Biden too. Seems God — via google on the internet — never allows Joe to get away with LYING.

Maybe that’s why I like Biden so much — one way or another, the truth always has a spotlight shone on it despite himself — and he can’t help it. It’s like someone placed a benevolent curse on Biden the day he was born, such that no matter what he says, the truth comes out.

Posted by dom youngross | Report as abusive

I A DEMOCRAT SAYS SOMETHING AND A REPUBLICAN SAYS SOMETHING I’M GOING TO BELIEVE THE DEMOCRAT BECAUSE WE HAD 8 YEARS OF REPUBLICANS LYING TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC AND TO SUDDENLY SAY THEY ARE CREDIBLE IS ABSURD. THE REPUBLICANS HAD 8 YEARS TO SCREW THINGS UP LETS AT LEAST GIVE DEMOCRATIC PARTY A COUPLE YEARS TO FIX THEIR MESS!! ITS THE DECENT THING TO DO IF ANY DECENT PEOPLE ARE READING THIS. NOW THAT PRECLUDES THE MEDIA. HEY ARE COMPLICIT IN BEING THE MOUTHPIECE OF THEY LYING REPUBLICAN PARTY THE LAST 8 YEARS!!

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

This is what we should call: BLATHERING FROM INCOMPETENTS

Why is anyone listening to the lies but questioning anything substantively?

Bernanke is the same expert who only last year told Congress wonderful fairytales about housing, the markets, and the economy just as the bubble was beginning its implosion.

Apply the controls available, without inventing new ones, and refrain from creating a Nation dependent on its government (through politicized cronyism) for financial success. Prosperity has no address on that road.

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2009  /07/bernanke-and-super-fed-say-its-over .html

Make changes at the top and change the structure over money’s controls.

The responses to this article are baffling to say the least. For people on the left who continue to blame the Bush and Republicans. You are dead wrong. The money going out of Washington over the last three years was all spent by the Democrats. Must have forgotten the mid-term elections huh and how the Republicans got booted out of office because of their spending specifically Medicare Part D. And don’t pretend you love this country because if you did you wouldn’t spout “we should at least give the Democrats time…” If we do that they will completely destroy what will be left of the US economy. Bush’s deficit was half of what the Dems and Nobama have spent in the last 6 months. Doesn’t the 4.5 percent unemployment when Bush left office seem like the good ole days at this point of your messiahs reign?
If you had any brains you would know the true culprit in the economic collapse is Alan Greenspan and the CRA.
Community Reinvestment Act.

Posted by Wayne | Report as abusive

Face it America,we are where we are at due to Democratic Ideals,the real estate boondogle is the Democrats idea that everyone should own a house-it back fired in our faces and eventually took out the economy-Bush should have looked closer at the crooked Democrats,Barney Frank,Waters etc. when they said everything was fine of course it was well underwater by then.Illegal Immigration was coddled by both parties and again we are paying for it now.B Obama and Co. are quickly becoming lame ducks because the American people dont want ANY of his policies and they WILL fight Obama heathcare and cap and tax.If you dont believe just look at B.Obamas illegal immigration reform,it was flushed right down the toilet and B. Obama and his Liberal Democrats are are making thier last rounds befor going in themselves.I just dont know how B. Obama thinks he can destroy our country,I and millions upon millions of Americans will fight this liberal administration at the polls and when they are defeated we will go further to cut off the head of this evil snake.One last thing:it is not my fault I was borne on Main st. U.S.A.and I had a great experience growing up in the U.S.A. so dont blame us B. Obama,we have no control at what you and your wife see every morning when you look in the mirror-its not our fault.

Posted by Randy Arce | Report as abusive

biden,s wife said that hillary was given her job because her husband din,t want it,then why is he making comments around the world that are contradicting not only hillary but her boss also?statements he made in chile are driving the russians crazy.it is a reflection on obama,s leadership when you have joe behaving like a rogue elephant.now the stimulus is a different proposition on his own admission he said that finance was not his forte and yet we have him pontificating on the stimulus bill with a different prognostication every time,who do we believe?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive