By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Colorado Republicans are calling President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package a “failed economic experiment.”
But Democrats say the study the GOP uses to make its claim is a flawed report conducted by the Republican National Committee, which began the study swimming in preconceived notions.
“These are paid studies that begin with a conclusion, and these conclusions are nothing more than to attack President Obama and his agenda to help America,” said Michael Huttner, executive director of ProgressNow and author of a new book, “50 Ways You Can Help Obama Change America.”
‘Detrimental impact’ on Colorado?
But Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said the stimulus package, which Obama signed in February at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, is having a “detrimental impact” on Colorado.
“When President Obama and Congressional Democrats pushed to pass the stimulus bill, they promised it would be a targeted, timely and transparent effort to create jobs immediately. But as we approach the 200th day since the stimulus passed, here in Colorado jobs continue to be lost, stimulus spending is slow, and, as even Vice President Biden has acknowledged, ‘Some of this money is going to be wasted.’”
Wadhams is referring to a June comment by Biden at a roundtable discussion in New York with business leaders. The vice president’s comments were aimed at encouraging transparency and accountability to avoid scams related to the stimulus package and to bring about its success.
Wadhams uses his party’s “200 Days, 200 Claims” report as fodder for criticizing the Democrats’ stimulus plan. He attempts to debunk several claims by Colorado Democrats over job creation, wasteful spending, and oversight, accountability and transparency.
Ritter: Impact has been positive
But Gov. Bill Ritter has defended what he considers to be a positive effect on Colorado due to the stimulus package.
He has said if it weren’t for the estimated $7 billion Colorado is expected to receive in direct funding and tax relief, the state would be struggling to close much more than the $318 million budget shortfall anticipated for next year. In fact, Ritter said lawmakers would need to come up with another $500-$600 million to close the shortfall, and more than $1 billion over the next two years.
Huttner says studies indicate that the stimulus has saved thousands of jobs in Colorado. He questioned the GOP’s motives for criticizing the plan.
“These folks want nothing more than to try to criticize,” he said. “But we’re going to expose their lies and the special interest money that funds them.”
Huttner’s new book, which was launched Tuesday, is an organizing handbook for grassroots groups to help Obama push his issues. Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin wrote that the book is aimed at “every nutroots activist out there” and was a bid to “dislodge conservative authors” from best seller lists.
Malkin’s book, “Culture of Corruption,” is currently No. 1 on the New York Times’ best sellers list in the nonfiction category.
“Malkin and other right wingers should argue about the issues instead of attacking people trying to help pass health insurance reform,” said Huttner.
Meanwhile, Wadhams continued his opposition to Obama’s stimulus plan.
“Instead of providing jobs for the people of Colorado, thousands are being left unemployed and billions of dollars have been added to our deficit,” he said. “In the end, the stimulus is yet another one of Obama’s failed experiments that Americans cannot afford.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters