The Wall Street Journal phrases it more tactfully, but still,
Obama’s Growth Goals Face Hurdles at Home, Abroad
President Barack Obama wants to sell world leaders on his ideas for sustaining global economic growth. One reason that won’t be easy: He hasn’t yet convinced the U.S. Congress.
The president leaves Friday for the Group of 20 summit in Toronto, where he will promote government spending and stimulus-style policies to his global counterparts, who these days are more worried about the growing debts. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are struggling to pass even the most basic spending measures amid fears over the federal deficit, and an influential group of U.S. corporate leaders this week accused Mr. Obama of retarding growth with a slew of new taxes and rules.
More than $860 billion in stimulus spending enacted last year has failed to move the nation’s jobless rate much below 10%, and polls show Americans question its effectiveness. The federal deficit reached $1.4 trillion by the end of last year, its highest level since World War II.
On Thursday, the Senate remained deadlocked over a package of tax cuts and federal benefits for businesses, the unemployed and state governments. Like many of the president’s job-creation and growth proposals, the bill was repeatedly scaled back as Republicans and some Democrats balked at its cost. Even a one-time $250 payment to Social Security recipients—a group sacrosanct in an election year—looks doomed.
The current bill would cost $105 billion over the next decade, $60 billion of it offset by tax increases on multinationals. That last part has irked business leaders, who have protested the bill as a brake on job creation. Last week, the Business Roundtable—composed of the nation’s biggest corporations—used a report they prepared at the request of the president’s budget director to launch a rare broadside against the White House. Executives from the group, many of whom have advised the president on the economy, listed dozens of regulations and policies that they say have slowed growth.
“The primary responsibility of Congress under the Constitution is to pass a budget for the federal government. The Democrats have a 77-seat majority in the House and an 18-seat majority in the Senate, where filibusters won’t apply anyway on budgetary matters. Barack Obama’s presidency gives them a clear path to passing whatever budget Democrats desire for FY2011. And so, obviously, all of this has proven too much of a hurdle for Democrats to overcome, as Steny Hoyer admitted today.”
Hey, it’s Glenn’s fault!