Dick Morris: Stimulus Bill Won't Work, Will Erode President Obama's Popularity

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," February 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We are live right now in Anchorage, Alaska. Why? Well we have a very special surprise planned for you. We're going to tell you at the end of the hour, but right now we continue with our Breaking News coverage of the $787 billion stimulus bill.

Joining us live is Dick Morris, author of "The New York Times" best- selling book "Fleeced" and of course he's hiding in Florida while we're up here in Alaska. That shows a difference in temperature.

All right, Dick, you know I'm obsessed with the fact that people we elect to vote haven't even bothered to read this bill and they say well my staff did or my committee did, passing it off. But anyway, who are the real culprits? Why didn't they read this thing?

DICK MORRIS, FORMER CLINTON ADVISOR: Well, the culprits in this rush to judgment are three people, Arlen Specter, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, the Republican senators from Maine. Not only did they say, "We are going to vote for this bill," and deprive the Republicans of the ability to stop it, they also said we will agree to close debate.

We'll agree to let you shut off debate as soon as it starts, so there'll be maybe an hour or two's debate in the Senate. Now what they could have done and what they should have done in fairness to their colleagues is say yeah, we're going to vote for the bill. We're going to help you pass it, but we want a week or two weeks exposition of what's in the bill and debate on the Senate floor.

This bill by itself stand alone is about a third of the federal budget, a whole new third and yeah, we think there ought to be some debate, but those three literally took the vocal cords out from the throats of their colleagues, and I hope Republicans.


MORRIS: ... In Maine and Pennsylvania will run primaries against them.

Watch Greta's interview with Dick Morris

VAN SUSTEREN: Well (INAUDIBLE) looked at either -- not only did they vote on something they have never read, but even the numbers contained inside the bill. Those are not done after some incredible thinking and study.


VAN SUSTEREN: They just grab those out of the air and just stick them in there. That's the -- that's the -- I mean that's what the American people don't believe is that the numbers are essentially, OK, we'll do 200 billion here. I mean.


VAN SUSTEREN: No study of it.


VAN SUSTEREN: That that's the right number.


VAN SUSTEREN: This is incredible.

MORRIS: Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: But all right.

MORRIS: We talk about earmarks, but what this really is, as one of your people said, this could use some earmarks. What it really is, is just giving Obama hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars and saying do whatever you want with this. You know spend it vaguely on science or vaguely on health care and that is no way to run a government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any harm to this? I mean is there a chance that this will work? I mean (INAUDIBLE) good Americans, we'd love to have it work. It's just that it scares most of us to think that you vote on something you've never read or you make up the numbers. It doesn't give us a whole sense of security, but I there is any harm in this bill?

MORRIS: Yeah, not only won't it work and you'll see a drip, drip, drip like the battle casualties in Iraq eroded Bush's popularity. The weekly jobless numbers are going to erode Obama's and make clear that this was meaningless, but it is going to cause a lot of damage, and the real damage is that all of this money that they are going to pump into the economy is going to go someplace. It won't be spent.

It won't be spent on a flat-screen TV or a new car or a new plant or equipment, but people will get the money and they will use it to pay down their credit downs, pay down their student loans, put money into the savings account, buy some Treasury bills and they'll park the money on the sidewalk or in the parking garage until the economy gets better. Then it's all going to come out at once, and you're going to have huge inflation, because you will have too much money chasing too few goods, and the only way to stop that new inflation will be a new recession, just like we had to have in 1981 and '82. But the other problem is.


MORRIS: Do you know how hard it is to get somebody off a respirator? You put them on a respirator in the hospital and it breathes for them, but then the problem is how do you get them off because they're so use to not breathing, that's the problem with this bill. You're taking whole areas of the American society, science, transportation, construction, infrastructure and it giving it a massive dose of government spending.

And you won't ever be able to stop that spending. It will have to continue and continue until you have a wrenching Ronald Reagan-like cut off of that, which is going to be a huge act of will, and the problem is that it is building a permanent deficit into the budget.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dick, do you agree that if this really does -- if this is really the right idea that President Obama is probably guaranteed another four years, if this creates -- if it fails or creates greater harm that he's going to be a four-year guy?

MORRIS: Well, I don't think that this is the be all and end all of the administration. I think there will be more and more unemployment and I think that will weaken him. He has two other hurdles to pass through. One is that having passed this bill, he has to deal with Social Security entitlement reform, and that could be very dangerous for him, having to cut benefits and increase taxes on most people, and secondly, he has got to deal with his health care proposals and expand the supply of health care without driving up the price and have to deal with rationing.

That is going to raise a lot of trouble in this country. My sense is this bill won't kill him. It won't elect him, but it will weaken him and then those other two areas may take him out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well I'm sure.

MORRIS: Either way I wouldn't sell the man.


MORRIS: I wouldn't sell the man insurance on four more years.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well I'm sure hoping this bill is going to work, although I certainly have grave reservations it will. But I sure -- I am so disappointed that people vote on it and never bothered to read it, because I think it is an insult to the American people and falling down on the job no matter whether the bill works or doesn't. Dick, thank you.

MORRIS: Thank you.

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