The Obama administration, seeking to deal with the political outrage over the handling of the government’s $700 billion financial rescue program, plans to impose tough new standards on future payments to banks. It is also greatly expanding an effort to unclog credit markets to provide loans to consumers and businesses.
President Barack Obama looked comfortable enough at his first White House news conference, but he sounded like a man fed up with one thing: Republicans lecturing him about his $820 billion economic stimulus plan.
Obama repeatedly reminded a national television audience that federal spending and deficits soared under George W. Bush’s presidency. He used the point to undermine GOP lawmakers opposing his plan and calling it too costly and wasteful.
At least Route 31 is a road to somewhere. President Barack Obama had it both ways when he promoted his stimulus plan in Indiana and later at a prime-time news conference. He bragged in Indiana about getting Congress to produce a package with no pork, yet boasted it will do good things for a Hoosier highway and a downtown overpass, just the kind of local projects lawmakers lard into big spending bills.
It is obvious that tens of millions of Americans thought naively that Barack Obama’s election would usher in a new era of civility and bipartisanship, a chance for a divided nation to come together in a spirit of political cooperation to deal with the nation’s pressing needs. They now know better.
The Tom Daschle episode has this peculiar capacity: it manages to shock us, but not to surprise us. The shock is only momentary. How could a seasoned public official or his accountant — surely Daschle doesn’t do his own taxes — overlook owed taxes in an amount that represents several years’ pay for most of us?