If you listen carefully to the talk of a second stimulus package, what you will hear is the sound of chickens coming home to roost.
Defenders of the $787 billion spending colossus, which Congress passed back in February, say only a small fraction of the money has gone out and it's not fair to call the whole thing a failure because unemployment is still going up.
Fair enough, but that's the age-old problem with government stimulus. It always takes a while for the money to get out the door, get spent and get into the hands of consumers, who, it is hoped, will then spend it again to get things moving. Too often, by the time that happens, the economy has already recovered and the money is largely wasted. The spend-out rate will doubtless accelerate in the months ahead, and may have more of an effect.
But remember: That money's not free. It has to be taxed or borrowed from people already sweating out a bad economy. And the amounts involved this time are so staggering that the future borrowing and taxing they will require will be a major burden on the economy. Don't expect anyone to admit that the huge stimulus package, with all the questionable stuff that was in it, was a mistake.
But don't expect anyone, least of all the Obama administration, to let Congress do it again.
— Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for FOX News Channel.