Senate considers Obama stimulus

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., talks to ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: President-elect Barack Obama has laid out new details of his
"American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan." At a speech this morning at George Mason University in Virginia, Mr. Obama said the day of reckoning has come.

President-elect Obama: No longer can we allow Wall Street wrongdoers to slip through regulatory cracks. No longer can we allow special interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales. No longer can we allow the unscrupulous lending and borrowing that leads only to destructive cycles of bubble and bust. It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now.

Mr. Obama said change means difficult choices, but a 21st century economy can grow with new ideas: energy efficiency, modernization of federal buildings and tax cuts for the middle class. He says jobs can be created just as easily by manufacturing solar panels as anything else. And that America must adapt to a changing and technologically evolving marketplace.

The plan is bold in this economic fallout, and expensive -- at least hundreds of billions of dollars. And the Senate Finance Committee is looking at the proposal to gauge support. Especially when it will control a good chunk of the spending. Danielle Karson gives us the rundown.


Danielle Karson: This will be the first of hundreds of meetings and hearings to piece together a stimulus plan. But the Senate meeting is a critical test of support.

Brookings Institution analyst William Galston says many fiscal conservatives are bracing for sticker shock:

William Galston: They will ponder the fact that every penny of it will have to be borrowed. They will blanch when they consider predictions that we'll have a trillion-dollar deficit. So some of them may simply say no.

Another sticking point will be how much money states get. Some senators argue that replenishing state coffers with federal dollars doesn't create new jobs. But Galston argues it still stimulates the economy.

Galston: It helps the economy by diminishing the drag on economic growth if states are forced to cut huge sums from their budget.

Galston expects the scope of aid to be debated, but not whether the states get money.

In Washington, I'm Danielle Karson for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...