The chairman of President Obama’s Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Paul Volcker, is an official of a think-tank that recently assailed the stimulus package making its way through Congress for introducing too many long-term spending measures.
Volcker is one of 31 individuals listed as being “directors” of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Last week the president of the Committee, Maya MacGuineas, called “troubling” the number of spending programs in the stimulus bill that are “really intended to be permanent new policies rather than temporary items to help boost the economy. While we need deficit spending now, extending our borrowing beyond the economic downturn will make our already-dismal fiscal picture far, far worse. The economy simply can’t handle that.”
The Committee cited as examples the$70 billion “Making Work Pay” Tax Credit, $15 billion in education funding for Pell Grants, Head Start, and Child Care Development, and $14 billion in new health insurance subsidies for unemployed workers enrolled in COBRA.
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is beginning to look remarkably similar to the Obama campaign’s tax and education plans,” remarked MacGuineas. “Many of these items may be worthwhile, but an emergency measure is the wrong way to push through permanent changes to the budget. If politicians want to enact long-term spending or tax policies, they should be enacted through the normal legislative process. And they should be paid for with offsetting tax or spending changes, just as President Obama committed to when he proposed the policies in the first place.”
Neither the White House nor the Committee responded to questions about the matter.