Once again, a Washington Post reporter asks Team Obama how they are going to keep from wasting the hundreds of billions of "stimulus" dollars by spending it too fast and Team Obama replies that they are going to work hard to not spend it too slow:
Because they are intended to pump cash quickly into the economy, stimulus measures are released from the usual budgetary constraints that require the cost of new programs to be covered by cutting spending elsewhere or by raising taxes -- a one-time pass that could invite lawmakers to load the bill up with favored items.
[Larry] Summers and other Obama advisers said they are keenly aware of the problem and are working to convince lawmakers of the wisdom of limiting the package to projects that would create a large number of jobs quickly or make a down payment on Obama's broader economic goals, such as improving the health-care system or reducing emissions that contribute to global warming.
"While this may be Christmastime, it doesn't mean there's going to be a large number of unrelated ornaments under the Christmas tree," Summers said. "There's a commitment by all of us to discipline and to doing the right things in terms of accountability."
Summers said Obama's budget team is "scrubbing" various proposals for "basic soundness." The team also is developing ideas to make expenditures transparent to the public, perhaps through regular progress reports or even Internet sites where "people could monitor the fraction of each project that had been spent out," he said.