Friday, January 30, 2009

In case the bullshit finds you

The Republican spin machine has been in high gear over the stimulus, alleging that it's merely pork as a reward for traditional Democratic constituencies. Of course, that's what they would do - and what they negotiated for and then spurned in the way of tax cuts.

The truth is much more positive, not perfect of course, but this stimulus is the best bill yet passed over the financial crisis. The money is strongly front-loaded, there's significant though not full reform, and most of the money is stimulative. Yes, all would be better. Conservative Martin Feldstein is right about the weakness of the Republican-demanded tax cuts, but he's just wrong about this:

A large fraction of the stimulus proposal is devoted to infrastructure projects that will spend out very slowly, not with the speed needed to help the economy in 2009 and 2010.
(Note that Paul Krugman's blog headline "Bad" is about the second half of TARP and criticizes Obama's financial policy, not his economic stimulus.)

One key question: Who will manage anti-recessionary funds better, the Obama administration or the late, unlamented Bush administration? Really, if you can spit and shit in the same day, you know that answer to that question.

Once, Republicans were good at money. Now, they're just kleptocrats. The price for their support is too high.

If I were Obama, I'd go all in on this, ask the Congressional Democrats to amend this bill to be a better, more Democratic bill, go in front of the American people to say that we Democrats will take full responsibility for fixing the problems left by the past administration, pass it without Republican votes again, and take all the credit when it works.

Smiling sweetly all the time.


jameswbales said...


Many thanks for the Leonhardt links! I like, BTW, your tactical suggestion for Obama, not that it will be done, of course!

Jim Bales

Anonymous said...

LL, You invited me on here a couple of weeks ago and have been checking in....You didn;t come right out and say...but I know it's in there....there's someting wrong with this por..I amena stimulus bill.....

paros92 said...

Didn;t mean to post anonymous. I am Paros92.

lovable liberal said...

Sure, there's always something wrong with a big bill like this. I'd get rid of all the ridiculous long-acting Republican tax credits.

Here's the thing: What we need is what you call pork. We need spending on roads and bridges, on a smart electrical grid, on keeping state and local government employment stable. If we start letting people lose their jobs, that feeds the feedback cycle toward deflation and recession.

You may not realize it, but you really don't want that.