Here’s an exchange from Obama’s interview on CBS the other night:
Couric: Sen. Mitch McConnell said over the weekend that surely you’re privately embarrassed by some of the product that came out of the house version and let me just mention some of the spending in this package: $6.2 billion for home weatherization, $100 million for children to learn green construction, $50 million for port modernization water and wastewater infrastructure needs in Guam, $50 million for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Arts. Even if some of these are a legitimate use of taxpayer dollars, Mr. President, why are they included in this bill designed to jumpstart the economy and create jobs right now?
Obama: Lets take that example. I’m stunned that Mitch McConnell use this as an example.
Couric: We actually got these examples, so you can’t necessarily blame him
Question: Which would be worse, that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell thought those were hi-larious examples of non-job-creating uses of public money … or that a major news organization like CBS thought so?
Obama’s answer beneath the fold:
Obama: Well, let’s think about it. We’re going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we’re going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization. As a consequence of weatherization, our energy bills go down and we reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What would be a more effective stimulus package than that? I mean, you’re getting a threefer. Not only are you immediately putting people back to work but you’re also saving families on your energy bills and you’re laying the groundwork for long term energy independence. That’s exactly the kind of program that we should be funding.
Now, I think a more legitimate criticism that some people have leveled is while not all this money is going to be spending out right away. We’re trying to balance the need for quick spending with the need for laying the groundwork for long term economic growth. And in some cases, some of the major energy plans or projects we have, some of the infrastructure projects that we have that are out there it may take three or four years to get all the money spent as opposed to the first year or two. now 75 percent of the money is spent in the first two years, 25 percent will be spent a little bit after that, that’s where there are areas that we could potentially improve it and if Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid or anybody has a better idea of how to do it I’m happy to accept those ideas.