Meet the New Boss…

Speaking at George Mason University (oh, the irony) today, President-elect Barack Obama urged “Congress to act without delay” to pass his still-undisclosed economic stimulus package, with a pricetag that’s drifting toward $800 billion.

“We should have an open and honest discussion about this recovery plan,” Obama allowed, but America faces a grim future “if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. … It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now.”

Where have I heard this “We must act now!” refrain before? Perhaps when the USA Patriot Act was on the floor? Or legislation authorizing the president to invade Iraq? Or congressional deliberation of the FISA amendments and their wiretaps? Or last year’s economic stimulus bill? Or the $700 billion TARP legislation?

The president-elect is about to submit legislation to pile nearly $1 trillion (if we’re lucky — who thinks the final cost will be that low?) in new liabilities on future generations in order to fund an economic strategy that has a poor track record. This is exactly the time for a careful, clear public discussion of the Obama proposal, so Americans will understand what we’re signing on to, its cost, and its uncertain prospects. The last thing we need is to continue the “Don’t just stand there — spend something” philosophy of the last eight years.

I Hope for Change.