Red State's Erick Erickson has uncovered what he thinks is a shocking admission in President Obama's 2011 budget: that "the White House is now admitting" that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being distributed over the course of two years. Erickson has also determined their purpose. From Red State:
Washington was "unwilling to solve" the problems because 2009 was not an election year and 2010 is. The President of the United States refused to help get unemployment down in 2009 by design so he could get credit in the 2010 election year instead.
You can't blame Erickson for jumping to this conclusion. Who wouldn't accuse the President of prolonging economic hardships in order to rig elections when no other justifiable reason has been presented?
Except Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag discussed exactly this last July:
In designing the Recovery Act, we also recognized that the economic situation we inherited was so severe that we needed to assure producers and consumers that aggregate demand would be boosted not just for a few months, but for a sustained period. That is why we envisioned a Recovery Act that would ramp up rapidly in 2009, have its peak impact in 2010, and lay the groundwork for further growth thereafter.
And in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office illustrated the fact that the stimulus money was designed to be distributed over two years:
Combining the spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase federal budget deficits by $169 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $356 billion in 2010, by $174 billion in 2011, and by $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period.
CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that enacting H.R. 1 would increase budget deficits by $526 billion over the 2009-2010 period (about 19 months) and by a total of $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period.
And, as Vice President Joe Biden wrote in a July, 2009 New York Times op-ed:
The care with which we are carrying out the provisions of the Recovery Act has led some people to ask whether we are moving too slowly. But the act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period - not a jolt that would last only a few months. Instead of quick-hit rebates, we are giving Americans a tax cut in each paycheck. Instead of pumping out all the state aid immediately, we are spreading it over the two years that it will be needed. Road projects, energy projects and construction projects are being started as soon as they pass review, contracts are competitively bid and reporting systems are in place.