So what makes me say this? A few things:
- We've been on the brink of a government shutdown twice in the last 10 months because of our deteriorating finances. In such an environment, is a $450 billion monstrosity really likely to pass? It only seems small now because the original stimulus package was $862 billion, but if we didn't have that one $450 billion would seem enormous. It seems that he could have actually created more jobs just by repealing regulations on energy exploration (onshore and offshore), which would be free. But that would have been too easy and would have passed with bipartisan support.
- When Obama initially presented his bill, he said it would be completely paid for, but then provided no details as to how, saying it would be up to the "super committee". I'm sorry, how could he think this would fly? "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" is no basis for running a government's finances and was particularly laughable. He included methods to pay for Obamacare in that legislation so the concept of paying for a bill within the bill itself should not be foreign to him or his policy team. Not paying for it was an obvious non-starter.
- After being thoroughly mocked for not paying for the jobs bill, the White House said they would be willing to pay for it through tax increases and only tax increases. Again, how could this possibly fly? The administration is making the claim that the taxes aren't going to increase immediately but January 1, 2013 isn't that far away and the economy will likely still be sluggish at that point. All that adding the tax increases into the mix did was give the GOP an easy out from supporting this bill at all. Does he really think the GOP will lose any votes by opposing a package that would increase taxes by $467 billion? I know he will try to make this into a class warfare thing, middle class tax cuts versus upper class tax increases but there are two problems with this. First, the tax increases are three times bigger than the tax cuts in the bill. Second, some of the tax increases come from limiting charitable deductions, which is something that benefits the poor. The charitable deduction is something that even Democrats like. Sander Levin was recently quoted as saying "in the case of the charitable deduction, one has to keep in mind that the recipients of the contributions include universities, hospitals, churches and soup kitchens that provide critical services to working families." No wonder Democratic Senator Jim Webb referred to these payment methods for the Jobs bill as "terrible". It's almost as if they decided they had to offer some method to pay for it but they didn't want to offer any spending cuts (seriously would finding $45 billion in annual cuts in a budget approaching $4 trillion be that difficult?) and just threw something together without any forethought.