This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," June 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the stimulus speed up. President Obama promises to get more money out the door and to save 600,000 more jobs in the next 100 days. We'll double check his math.
Plus, 10 big banks get the green lights to repay their TARP loans. But one name is conspicuously missing from that list.
And tensions mount with North Korea. The U.N. Security Council agrees on new sanctions as the rogue regime uses two American journalists as bargaining chips.
The "Journal Editorial Report" continues begins now.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Days after learning unemployment rose to the highest level in almost 26 years, President Obama promised this week to ramp up the pace at which funds from the $787 billion economic stimulus package are spent. So far only $44 billion or just over 5 percent have actually gone out the door. The president predicted Monday that the increased spending would save or create 600,000 more jobs by summer's end. That's on top of the 150,000 jobs the administration claims the stimulus package has saved or created already.
Here to check the president's math, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady; and senior economics writer, Steve Moore.
Steve, so, the stimulus money was supposed to stimulate. What's taking so long for this money to get out the door?
STEVE MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMICS WRITER: Well, you know, Paul, when the president signed this bill into action, he said, you know, if we didn't put this bill — if we didn't sign this, if we didn't have this program we'd have 9 percent unemployment rate. He signed it. We've got the money and now we have a 9.5 percent unemployment rate so it hasn't worked well.
You asked the right question, what is taking so long to spend this money and I think the answer is whenever government tries to act quickly it's like watching a race between a snail and a turtle. Government is just too slow and plodding to get this money out the door.
And it really raises the question, if you wanted that money quickly, why not give everybody a tax rebate check. I'm not in favor of that but all the money would be out in the economy right now when needed. And I think the answer is the Democrats wanted this had money to go to their special interest groups like the union and groups like ACORN and so on.
GIGOT: But, Steve, the tax credits are a part of this deal and that money is going out there as we speak. And it doesn't seem to be making that much of a difference.
GIGOT: Are the critics from the left, Paul Krugman and others right, that this was an insufficient stimulus. We should have spent more.
MOORE: Well, that is the interesting — you know, that's a composition you can't possibly refute.
If it doesn't work, they just say spend more and more and more. And I think the problem — the whole problem with this theory, though, Paul, is look at what's happening to the dollar and look at what's happening to interest rates. There is a negative stimulus effect from all of the borrowing that I think is canceling any positive effects of the spending.
GIGOT: Let's look at that, the spending, Mary. you've got a $787 billion stimulus, you've got $410 million that was left over from fiscal year 2009, the past year, a budget proposal of $3.5 trillion, and you have the health care spending that is pending, that could be anywhere between $1.2 and $1.5 trillion. Is Steve right that this is having some kind of an effect on expectations for inflation and causing the increase in interest rates?
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: Sure, I think that the idea that all of the spending is going to then create growth and then growth is going to create tax revenues and tax revenues are going to be used to pay off the...