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Obama Calls for $450 Billion Stimulus in Speech to Congress

9:54 PM, Sep 8, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In a speech to a joint session of Congress this evening, President Obama introduced a $450 billion stimulus proposal plan he claimed would get Americans back to work. "There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight.  And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."

Obama, Speech

Yet the president never fully explained how "everything" in his plan would be paid for (or why this stimulus plan would be more successful than the first). Instead, he punted that responsibility to the new "supercommittee" which had been tasked with finding ways to reduce the deficit, rather than pay for new spending.  

The president seems to hope the supercommittee will pay for his bill by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. "[I]t’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts; by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share."

President Obama did not use the word "stimulus" in his speech tonight, but the plan is quite similar to the 2009 stimulus—a grab bag of "infrastructure" spending, aid to states, high-speed rail, and temporary tax cuts.

“President Obama’s call for nearly a half-trillion dollars in more government stimulus when America has more than $14 trillion in debt is guided by his mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity," Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said in a statement following the speech. "Like the president’s earlier $800 billion stimulus program, this proposal offers little hope for millions of Americans who have lost jobs on his watch, and taxpayers who are rightly concerned that their children will inherit a mountain of debt."

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