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Ten Questions for Tonight's Presidential News Conference

President Obama asserts that failure to pass the economic stimulus package will result in a “catastrophe.” Since he’s about to be handed one trillion dollars, it might be a good idea for the press to ask him what he and his economic advisors project will happen if the stimulus bill passes. Nothing complex, just some simple comparatives:

1. You assert that without your economic stimulus plan unemployment will reach double digits. If your stimulus plan passes, as expected, what do you project the unemployment rate to be in one year? Two years? Three years?

2. How many jobs will the bill create in its first year? In what sectors of the economy will the job growth occur?

3. What will the deficit be in 2009? 2010? 2011?

4. What will the national debt be in 2009? 2010? 2011?

5. You have said that the economic situation is so serious that failure to immediately pass the plan would be a catastrophe. If the situation’s so serious, why is most of the spending slated to occur after the recession (according to historical patterns) will likely end? And if it’s so serious, why are tens of billions being spent on frivolous items?

6. Since we don’t have the money contained in the spending bill, when will you have to raise taxes? Which taxes will be raised and on whom? What will be the highest marginal rate?

7. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the economic stimulus package will actually stifle growth. If your bill passes, what do you project the nation’s GDP to be in 2009? 2010? 2011? What do your experts say the GDP will be if your bill doesn’t pass?

8. What do you and your advisors believe your plan will do to interest rates and the rate of inflation in the next five years?

9. What’s the percentage probability that the stimulus plan will work? If you can’t give an estimate, why should we give you one trillion dollars?

10. What’s your Plan B if the economic stimulus doesn’t work? What's your exit strategy if the plan actually does harm?

And two non-stimulus bonus questions:

The tax problems of Geithner, Daschle, Killefer, and Solis are different in kind and degree. Please describe your standards for permitting some tax scofflaws to remain in your administration but not others.

You 're about to ramp up military operations in Afghanistan but Russia has pressured Kyrgyzstan to forbid the U.S. from using the Manas air base crucial to supplying our forces in Afghanistan. What have you done about that?

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