Hitting bookstores next week, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, The NEW New Deal by Michael Grunwald.

Mel White: “Your confession that you had only read the book jacket was hilarious BUT you and I both know that the publisher writes those blurbs.  I’m wondering if the blurb represents the author accurately. When you have time, write a followup piece to assure us.”

Indeed it does.  And it makes you want to scream at how little the country knows of the important, far-sighted, hopeful things the Administration has done.  For every 100 people who have heard of Solyndra, and think it’s a scandal (which it is not), is there even 1 who’s heard of ARPA-E and knows its its importance to our long-term prosperity and competitive position in thew world?

Ultimately [Grunwald writes of the $786 billion Recovery Act that turned out to be $831 billion], one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation in modern history [“in constant dollars, more than 50% bigger than the entire New Deal, twice as big as the Louisiana Purchase and Marshall Plan combined”] was reduced [in the pubic mind] to an afterthought.  In April, 2011, Obama’s most influential supporter asked him on national TV whether he wished he had started his presidency by focusing on the economy instead of health care.  “Oprah, I’ve got to tell you, we did start with the economy,” Obama replied with evident irritation.  “Remember, the first thing we did was pass a Recovery Act.”  Polls have found that most Americans see the stimulus as a giveaway to bankers, confusing it with the $700 billion financial bailout that passed before Obama was elected.  I interviewed several congressmen who were under the same misimpression.

This book aims to tell the story of the stimulus — how it happened, how it’s changing the country, how Republicans found their voice in opposing it, and how it’s been distorted by the Washington funhouse.  . . .

It was greeted with virtually unanimous opposition by congressional Republicans, who had secretly decided to fight Obama on just about everything.

“If he was for it,” explains former Republican senator George Voinovich of Ohio, “we had to be against it.”

And yet it prevented a full-scale depression and, as you will read, offers real hope for our future.  The same American ingenuity that could successfully land a one-ton nuclear-powered rover on Mars in the astounding way it just did — on Mars! — is being unleashed and nurtured in game-changing ways.

ARPA-E, modeled after DARPA, is a big piece of that effort.  And by the way?  When President Obama noted that entrepreneurs didn’t achieve their success entirely on their own — they had help from the folks who built the national infrastructure and perhaps from the public school system or government-backed student loans or government contracts or SBA loans — he might have mentioned DARPA, which gave us the Internet.  Can you think of any entrepreneurs whose success has depended partly on that?  The same will hold true of ARPA-E, and almost nobody knows about it.

Read the book.  Spread the word.  Vote to keep moving forward.  Vote for the party under whose leadership $10,000 would have grown to $415,000 since 1929 instead of $11,700.  Or — if you can’t bear to do that for some reason — stay home.

 

 

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