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OPINION

Clinton and Obama Don’t Offset Econ Plans

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have competing billion dollar proposals to prevent recession, but neither included ways to offset the spending in their plans.

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Obama presented a $75 billion “economic stimulus” package two days after his top Democratic rival Hillary Clinton proposed spending $70 billion to jumpstart the economy. Clinton released her plan on Friday, January 11 in a speech in the greater Los Angeles area. Obama unveiled his on Sunday, January 13.

Unlike Clinton’s plan, Obama’s features an immediate $250 rebate for 150 million low to middle income workers and a $250 “bonus” for Social Security recipients. If employment numbers continued to decline over the next three months, Obama would reissue both of the $250 checks.

Clinton’s plan also included $25 billion in heating subsidies for low-income Americans and $5 billion for “green collar job growth” that Obama’s did not.

Both of the Democratic presidential candidates’ proposals would give hefty subsidies to those who face home foreclosure. Clinton supports establishing a $30 billion fund to help subprime mortgage borrowers make payments. Obama suggested spending $10 billion for “pre-foreclosure counseling” and $10 billion to be issued to state and local governments to alleviate housing problems.

Clinton and Obama separate packages also included $10 billion to expand unemployment insurance.

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Neither candidate has devised a way to pay for their programs.

NBC Anchor Tim Russet told Clinton “You don’t pay for it,” on “Meet the Press” Sunday.

She told him, “I have paid for everything,” but Russert interjected “but not for this [economic] stimulus package.”

Clinton said, “Stimulus shouldn’t be paid for.”

Similarly, Obama’s economic advisor Austan Goolsbee has told reporters an offset is not needed. “The goal is to get the money into the economy,'' he said. “If you put it in and take it out at the same time you don't have a stimulus.” Link:

When Congress resumes, Democratic leadership will attempt to shape some kind of economic package that could resemble Clinton’s or Obama’s. President Bush has engaged in some talks about doing so, but insists tax cuts are used rather than expanding federal programs or increasing state aid.

Bush is expected to announce some kind of plan in his forthcoming State of the Union speech on January 28.

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