OBAMA REMAINS OPEN MINDED…. Barack Obama and his transition team have apparently been getting an earful the last few days about his economic rescue package being insufficiently ambitious. CBS News’ Chip Read reminded the president-elect at a press conference this morning that Paul Krugman, among others, believes the talked-about package simply isn’t big enough to respond effectively to the crisis.
“Look, there’s some people who have said that it’s not big enough, there are others who say it’s too big,” Obama said. “As I said before, Democrats or Republicans, we welcome good ideas. And so the challenge for all of us, I think, is to identify good ideas, good spending plans, that deliver on my commitment to create or save 3 million jobs. I want this to work. This is not an intellectual exercise, and there is no pride of authorship. If members of Congress have good ideas, if they can identify a project for me that will create jobs in an efficient way, that does not hamper our ability to over the long term get control of our deficit, that is good for the economy, then I’m going to accept it.
“If Paul Krugman has a good idea, in terms of how to spend money efficiently and effectively to jump-start the economy, then we’re going to do it. If somebody has an idea for a tax cut that is better than a tax cut we’ve proposed, we will embrace it. So, you know, one of the things that I think I’m trying to communicate in this process is for everybody to get past the habit that sometimes occurs in Washington of whose idea is it, what ideological corner does it come from. Just show me. If you can show me that something is going to work, I will welcome it. If it works better than something I’ve proposed, I’ll welcome it.
“What is not an option is for us to sit and engage in posturing or, you know, the standard partisan fights, when the Americans people are out there struggling. And I don’t expect Congress is going to do that, because I think that they understand the urgency of the situation and they’re hearing from their constituents.”
Ezra raised a good point in response, noting that Obama’s approach, while open minded, is still incomplete: “Obama responded to this by saying that some people say that the bill is too large, and some say the bill is too small. Okay. Who’s right? Why? $800 billion is a specific number. Why are we using that number rather than $1.2 trillion, or $500 billion? Larry Summers certainly has some arguments. But they’ve not been publicly articulated.”