Now there is no doubt that that probably gives you the most bang for the buck in terms of stimulus, in terms of getting the economy started, putting people back to work. But there are only so many projects that you can do quickly of that sort.
And so then the question becomes, do tax cuts also provide a stimulus? Do they also help? And they may not help as much as some of the direct spending projects do, but they still provide a stimulus, especially if they are targeted towards people who are really in need.
And there are a lot of families hurting out there. So what we've done is design the bulk of our tax cuts…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?
OBAMA: Well, you know, there are a range of different business tax cuts that we proposed, that we looked at. Some of them, for example, accelerating the depreciation, accelerating the losses that can be
written off by businesses, it turns out those are short-term, temporary measures that actually can have an impact.
But our general philosophy, and I said this yesterday when I was asked at a press conference, is we don't have pride of authorship. There are a couple of basic principles that I laid out. We've got to move quickly. We've got to make sure that any investments that we make have good long-term benefits for the economy, not just short-term.
We can't set up a situation where we're adding to the structural deficit over the long-term. We can't have waste and abuse in it. We can't have earmarks in it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's look at some…
OBAMA: But -- just to finish the point, if people have better ideas on certain provisions, if they say, you know, this is going to work better than that, then we welcome that. And so we're going to have a collaborative, consultative process with Congress over the next few days.
But what we can't do is get involved in the typical partisan wrangling or pet project, you know, bartering that takes place.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's what I wanted to ask you about, because like one of the signature proposals already is this Museum of Organized Crime out in Las Vegas. I had Mitch McConnell out on the show last week and he ridiculed it, saying that, you know, this is an example of the kind of pork we don't want.
Yet its advocates say, wait a second, it's a construction project, it's ready to go, it's going to create jobs. Is that the kind of project that you want to fund or not?
OBAMA: Well, let's be clear, that was a project that was proposed as part of the mayors' project. The country's mayors put together -- here are a range of projects we can do, we didn't include that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But would you want to fund it or not?
OBAMA: Well, I think that what we have to do is evaluate whether or not these are projects that, as I said, are going to provide long-term benefits to the economy. You know, I would prefer spending money on things like making sure that all federal buildings are energy efficient so the taxpayers are saving money over the long-term.
I want to make sure that on health care we are creating the infrastructure that can make our health care more -- system more efficient. So, you know, we want to spend the money wisely. We want to spend it prudently.
In a package of this magnitude, will there end up being certain projects that potentially don't meet that criteria of helping on health care, energy, or education? Certainly.