I noted yesterday that in an underexamined portion of Ryan Lizza’s profile of Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff appeared to say he thinks the stimulus plan wasn’t big enough. Turns out that Alec MacGillis had similar material at the end of a Washington Post article last week:
He acknowledged that the package was smaller than what Obama envisioned, particularly if one does not count the $70 billion tax fix — which Emanuel called “the price for getting the deal done.” But he said the final deal was “90 percent” of what Obama wanted.
“We clearly thought that economic activity needed more, but it was more important to get it done than argue about just that,” he said. “At the end, it became a choice between passage or not.”
I guess my view is that since Rahm’s opinion of the bill can’t change reality one way or the other, it’s probably good news that the White House is aware of the shortcomings of its own bill. I think one of the most dangerous things that happens to people in politics is that they start making pragmatic compromises because politics is the art of the possible, but then because they want to think the best of their own accomplishments they wind up confusing what they settled for with what they were aiming for. The question remains, however, of what, if anything, the White House can contrive to do to compensate for the need for some measure of additional stimulus.