This morning, President-elect Barack Obama gave a speech that was clearly intended for the new Congress' ears — but that the rest of us were invited to listen in on — in which he told them that they'd better take immediate action on his proposed "throw a shitload of money at the economy and hope it does something" plan. Or else…
"If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits," he said…
Obama said his plan will immediately help jumpstart the economy by doubling the production of alternative energy within three years, improving the efficiency of federal buildings and homes, computerizing medical records, equipping schools with 21st century classrooms, expanding broadband across the country and investing in science and new technologies.
Hmmmm… Sounds, um, expensive. What exactly do you think this'd be costing American taxpayers?
The president-elect said the cost of his plan would be "considerable" and would "certainly add to the budget deficit in the short term." He did not put a price tag on the stimulus package, but observers have estimated it would cost about $800
millionbillion. I can remember a time when $800 million would have seemed "considerable" to me. But, I don't know, after watching Congress sign multi-hundred billion dollar checks for banks and auto companies, that figure is somehow failing to give me much pause.
Besides, I live in New York, and that's probably about what people will be paying for two bedroom apartments in Manhattan in a couple years.
Mary pointed out to me that the correct number should be "billion," not "million." I guess CNN got that figure wrong, and then I — stupidly — quoted it without question. As Mary noted to me, this does say something about how weird our association with monetary figures has gotten recently. As she wrote to me…
I read that and was like "$800 million? Why are we even discussing this?"
So, my mistake. I apologize. And it'll be at least a few more years before apartment rates rise up into the billions in Manhattan.
Tags: Barack Obama, Economy, House of Representatives