Federal spending is already at a record level, but instead of asking President-elect Barack Obama about the effectiveness of his proposed additional deficit spending, in an “exclusive” interview excerpted Wednesday night, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric hit him on the tax cut component:
Forty percent of your stimulus package relies on tax cuts with the hopes that people will invest that money or put it back into the economy. But some critics have said, "hey, that didn't really happen the last time." Why will it this time?
Couric did at least raise how “your nominee for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay some taxes, and did so only after he learned he would be tapped as Treasury Secretary. How embarrassing do you think this is for a future Treasury Secretary who will be overseeing the IRS?” Otherwise, the excerpt covered Couric's inquiries about Osama bin Laden and the situation in Gaza. A longer portion will air Tuesday night during a prime time special, “Change and Challenge: The Inauguration of Barack Obama.”
The tax cuts also most-concerned ABC's George Stephanopoulos when Obama sat down with him. On Sunday's This Week, as recounted in my NewsBusters post, Stephanopoulos demanded: “Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?” He soon yearned: “But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?”
The tax cut exchange as aired on the Wednesday, January 14 CBS Evening News, the only section aired which related to the “stimulus” plan:
KATIE COURIC: And let me just end by asking you about the stimulus package. Forty percent of your stimulus package relies on tax cuts with the hopes that people will invest that money or put it back into the economy. But some critics have said, "hey, that didn't really happen the last time." Why will it this time?
BARACK OBAMA: Well, there are a couple of things. First of all, I think it's important to understand that the majority of our spending is direct government spending on critical infrastructure that will set the table for long-term economic growth. We're gonna double alternative energy. We're gonna rebuild our schools and community colleges and public universities. We're gonna invest billions of dollars in health information technology so that we can drive down costs for average families. So that's where the majority of the money's going.
Now, are some people gonna just pay down their credit cards or save some of that money? Absolutely. And if Congress has better suggestions where they can show me that one approach is gonna be better than another approach, I'm happy to take it. I don't have pride of authorship here. But the general framework, the general outlines of the plan are ones we have run by economists from the left and the right, conservative, liberal. This is a package that I think is gonna make sense. I have every confidence that it's gonna work. But it's gonna take some time. And we've gotta do it with some speed. So my main message to Congress right now is "get it done."
COURIC: And if it doesn't work?
OBAMA: Failure is never an option. Not in America.
CBSNews.com's transcript of what aired on the CBS Evening News, along with a video clip of Obama's comments on capturing or killing bin Laden.