Obama may seek more stimulus

OK - I may not be the brightest bulb in the room (as many have pointed out), but how can you call something a deficit reduction committee if you are going to spend more taxpayer dollars to stimulate the economy?

Isn't that sort of counterintuitive? Welcome to Obama's Fantasyland:

President Barack Obama is considering recommending that lawmakers on a deficit committee back new measures to stimulate the lagging economy, people familiar with White House discussions said Tuesday.

The plan Mr. Obama is considering also would recommend the congressional committee come up with a package that reduces the federal budget deficit by much more that its mandate of $1.5 trillion over the next decade, a senior administration official said, through changes in the tax code and social safety-net programs.

"There's no reason to stop at $1.5 trillion," the official said.

Mr. Obama hasn't agreed to a set of proposals, people familiar with the discussions said, but the White House will begin to decide on elements of the plan in coming days. Mr. Obama is expected to make some decisions by Thursday.

Mr. Obama said in Iowa that when Congress returns from recess in September he will put forward "a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs, and to control our deficit." He will unveil his plan before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction's first meeting on Sept. 16.

The White House is looking for ways to boost the sluggish economy and bring down unemployment that is now stuck above 9%. Mr. Obama, facing re-election next year, has been pushing Congress for months to adopt a variety of stimulus measures, some of which he could urge the committee to embrace. These include extending unemployment-insurance benefits and a payroll-tax cut for employees, which expire at year end and together cost more than $160 billion a year, and an infrastructure bank that could cost as much as $30 billion. The White House is also looking at a payroll-tax cut for employers, worth perhaps as much as roughly $110 billion, and other tax breaks for businesses of as much as $55 billion.

A few tens of billions here, a few there, pretty soon you're talking about adding to the deficit substantially. Since most deficit reduction will take place in the future, the hundreds of billions the president wants to spend now would be added to our short term deficits - already topping $1.5 trillion.

Obama must think it a small price to pay to re-elect his sorry hide. But the rest of us will pass, thank you.