When President Obama delivers his message on the economy this evening, it looks like he'll go easy on debt reduction and quite possibly talk about the need for more stimulus investment. If that's true, then it's time to rejoice.
I've been a voice in the wilderness on the need for more investments to stimulate the economy for over two years. As mayor I greedily sopped up every bit of stimulus money I could get for the city. With those dollars we invested in 14 new American-made hybrid buses, rebuilt University Avenue, funded other needed road projects and weatherized homes and businesses, among other projects. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has reported that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) kept us out of an even deeper recession and it's winding down has contributed to the sluggish recovery.
What we should have done is had an even larger ARRA, followed by a second and a third if necessary. Had we done that, we'd probably be well on our way to recovery and the president would be on his way to reelection. Instead, like FDR in 1937, the president allowed himself to get caught up in debt reduction fever. The Republicans and their tea party allies have now driven the economy to the brink of a double dip recession.
Let's hope the president will be bold enough, will fight for his plan and will overcome the economically disastrous tea party opposition.