False Package Deals

In a speech this morning (via Ezra) Obama apparently said, in response to the idea that he's trying to do too much at once.:

President Roosevelt didn’t have the luxury of choosing between ending a depression and fighting a war. President Kennedy didn’t have the luxury of choosing between civil rights and sending us to the moon.

WTF? (1) Roosevelt probably prolonged the depression. (2) Fighting WWII was most certainly a choice, and maybe not the best one. (3) Kennedy did nothing much by way of advancing civil rights other than voting against Eisenhower's 1957 Civil Rights Act. (4) There was no point whatsoever in going to the moon.
Obama wants us to believe that not accepting his package deal of uneccesary programs is a “luxury” we cannot afford, which is even more ridiculous than the historical examples he picked. When it comes to responding to the basis of the actual crisis and repairing the wreckage of the banking system, the adminstration seems neglectful, ineffectual, and has become the butt of jokes. Maybe that has something to do with the incredible audacity of attempting to slam through an entire presidency's legislative agenda in two months. But I guess we don't have the luxury of lavishing attention on the things that actually need fixing.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center