Evan Bayh Rails Against Stimulus Package That He Wanted Made Less Effective

04/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Evan Bayh, who does deserve praise for his announced plan to reduce the Congressional Deficit Peacock Caucus by one member, has rankled his fellow Democratic colleagues by slagging the stimulus plan and by reaffirming a key GOP talking point on the stimulus program:

[I]f I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months.

This will be good news for that one person, and bad news for the other 119,999 people who will enter the job force the month Bayh retires from the perch from which he might have had a stronger hand at getting more people jobs!

In his statement, Bayh echoes the remarks of newly-minted Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who only weeks ago claimed that the Recovery Act had failed to create even "one new job." Obviously, the White House strenuously disagrees. Also in disagreement, many economists, including McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi:

[Zandi told the New York Times], "the stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do -- it is contributing to ending the recession," he added, citing the economy's third-quarter expansion by a 3.5 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate. "In my view, without the stimulus, G.D.P. would still be negative and unemployment would be firmly over 11 percent. And there are a little over 1.1 million more jobs out there as of October than would have been out there without the stimulus."

Of course, there's been plenty of hand-wringing from nominal Obama allies over the fact that the stimulus package ended up being less effective than it could have been, because it wasn't large enough and was larded down with non-stimulating tax cuts. Bayh seems to want to elide over the fact that he, too, was a member of Congress for the past "six months," and indeed a member of Congress back when the stimulus package was being negotiated. And back then, Bayh was saying that he would have preferred the stimulus package to be even less effective:

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh says there is a lot about the stimulus plan he would have changed if he had written it, such as less spending and more tax cuts, but he says it has a couple of big benefits for Hoosiers.

One is a tax credit for college students, which includes a $2500 tax credit per year for students in undergraduate higher education programs. The credit is for families with combined incomes of $160,000 or less.

Please note that Bayh was very quick to play up the parts of the stimulus that he felt should endear him to voters and allow him to keep the one job he had created for himself in the public sector. But, more importantly, let's remember that the stimulus was rendered less effective specifically because of the need to cater to timid, incrementalist senators like Evan Bayh.

At any rate, it's not like Evan Bayh is going to go home to Indiana and open a hardware store and give a few fresh-faced kids their first living wage. Whatever Bayh does now, and whatever jobs he creates in the future, will all come about because he enjoyed a long, well-connected, and personally enriching career in the Senate, which he now claims is dysfunctional, precisely because its members are more concerned with having long, well-connected, and personally enriching careers.

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