Disagreeing With Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman doesn't believe that the stimulus bill is likely to be enough to get the job done and seems almost despondent about the fact that the compromise that will allow something to pass the Senate made it even smaller. Krugman thinks this bill will be it, nothing more will get enacted, this was a one-time all-you-can-eat offer, etc. Here's the money quote:
The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.
I have no quarrel with Krugman's numbers, just his reading of the political tea leaves. In fact, and as I'm planning to discuss in more detail in my "Fiscal Fitness" column this week in Roll Call, even if the president doesn't make a request for additional fiscal stimulus, there will a number of already scheduled opportunities for more stimulus to be enacted. I'm even willing to predict that more will be adopted in the not too distant future if it is needed.
The congressional budget process will provide the means for this to happen.
The continuing resolution put in place last Fall to cover the nine 2009 appropriations that were not enacted by the start of the fiscal year will expire on March and additional spending almost certainly will be added to the levels currently in place just a week or so after the stimulus is signed.
The Obama 2010 budget will start that year's budget process and the appropriations for that year will provide another opportunity for an additional economic jolt this Fall.
But even more important, the 2010 budget process could include a reconciliation bill that increases spending or reduces revenues or both that, because of the rules, won't be subject to a filibuster in the Senate. In addition, the budget resolution that has to be adopted before a reconciliation bill can happen also can't be filibustered.
Not only will that make another stimulus bill much easier to enact, it's also something that could happen any time after the budget resolution is adopted so the process could be completed relatively early this year and the stimulus provided quickly.
My guess is that the Obama administration sees this, sees that it will get credit for even the changed version of the stimulus that is likely to get enacted, understands the political importance of an early legislative victory and, therefore, has decided to take what it can get now and come back for more in other ways in the not too distant future.
And even if that wasn't the orginal strategy, it certainly makes sense now.