President Obama has resorted to draconian fear tactics in an attempt to shore up support for an enormous stimulus package, but many FOX commentators including Steve Forbes and Ben Stein criticized the bill and Obama’s scaremongering on Feb. 7.
At the White House, Obama said on Feb. 4, “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future.” Obama’s remarks grew harsher as Senate Republicans voiced their opposition to the bill and worked to prevent its passage.
Experts on FOX News Channel’s “Cost of Freedom” business block discussed Obama’s urgent words and the stimulus package being debated in the Senate. While there were several proponents of the stimulus plan on FNC, many others criticized Obama and the plan.
On “Cashin’ In,” Fox Business Reporter Tracy Byrnes lashed out at Obama’s pessimistic predictions. “This Armageddon nonsense is scaring everyone, and it’s making things worse! Why would you go out and buy a pair of shoes or even a stick of gum?” she wondered.
Gary Kaltbaum, of GaryK.com, was worried about the long-term effects of the stimulus bill. “Barack Obama’s gone to the Henry Paulson school of scare tactics” to win hasty passage of the bill, Kaltbaum said during “Cavuto on Business.” Long-term this will force “massive, massive debt” onto taxpayers, according to Kaltbaum.
Other analysts were also un-swayed by Obama’s fear-mongering and went on the record against the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”
Damon Vickers, Managing Director of Nine Points Capital Partners, criticized the stimulus bill because it adds to government without encouraging innovation, job creation and risk-taking. “It’s the same insanity, and the same defective, mal-deformed, sick thinking that we’ve had running this country and that our citizenry has had for more than a decade. I think we’re a nation that just feels we’re all kind of entitled.” Vickers said on “Cashin’ In.”
Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine Editor-in-Chief, made a humorous analogy in his criticism of the stimulus bill during “Forbes on FOX.”
Forbes said, “tax cuts versus spending binge – no contest. It’s the difference between applying glue and sniffing glue … What we have now is sniffing glue.” The stimulus bill would be “spending money for the sake of spending money” and would be far less effective than reducing tax rates, according to Forbes. He recommended cutting the payroll tax in half for a couple years to lower the cost of hiring people and create jobs.
Elizabeth MacDonald agreed with Forbes that tax cuts are the solution. The stocks editor of Fox Business Network opposed the stimulus saying, “The problem is we have a congressional pork-wagon running over taxpayers. I say tax cuts along with spending cuts.” She later explained that the real problem is that the Democrats “skunked it up” by loading the bill with pork.
Other analysts piled on reasons for opposing the stimulus bill:
On “Bulls and Bears,” Eric Bolling of FOX Business Network asked why taxpayers should think the government will spend the money wisely since $78 billion of “TARP 1” (the first $350 billion of TARP funds) were wasted according to the Congressional Oversight Panel. He worried that in a bill approaching $1 trillion the waste would be even greater perhaps around the $250 billion mark.
Economist Ben Stein, author of “How to Ruin the United States of America,” declared, “This is not a stimulus package. This is Democratic Party rescue package and, keep-the-Democrats-in-power-forever package.” Stein said there is some “good news” on the economy and was concerned that the package might pass “as the dawn is breaking.”
Also against the stimulus bill, Forbes Associate Editor Jack Gage pointed out that the Democrat-run Congressional Budget Office said that “most of this money won’t go out for 2 or 3 years.” Gage said he would prefer tax cuts and cautioned that even if stimulus spending does have the desired effect, the results will not be seen for many years.
The analysts criticized specific elements of the proposed stimulus bill, not the mere concept of a stimulus bill. Several of them including Gage, Forbes, and MacDonald said they would support a stimulus approach that focused on tax cuts and included less pork. Forbes and MacDonald even agreed that they would support the bill if it had a smaller price tag and real infrastructure spending.