07 February 2009

The bipartisan stimulus that wasn't

Eight-hundred and twenty billion.

Apparently, according to President Obama, the Democrats and Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, that's how many taxpayer dollars it will take to lift us out of "these tough economic times" (copyright: John McCain). This, of course, on the heels of a $750 billion bailout of Wall Street, passed in October, and a $30 billion bailout of the American auto industry's "Big Three." The total cost of this package, by the way, after interest payments are factored in, is expected to top $1.2 trillion.

And that's trillion, with a "T."

The good? About 40 percent of this bill's cost comes in the form of tax cuts. I think it's safe to assume that the three aforementioned Republicans, as well as Nebraska's Ben Nelson and South Dakota's Kent Conrad (both Democrats) insisted that some of the laughable discretionary spending be replaced by tax cuts. This bill is, admittedly, superior to Nancy Pelosi's House bill, which allocated only about 22 percent of the entire package to tax cuts. To the credit of Collins, she insisted that a number of liberals' favorite social programs be axed before she would pledge her support. 

The bad? In the last four months, two administrations have saddled us with nearly $2 trillion in debt. This, of course, is on top of the $10 trillion debt (which, I continually delight in reminding readers, doubled under the reportedly "Republican" presidency of George W. Bush) that exists now. 

And the ugly? Overall, I didn't dispute the necessity of some governmental intervention. The unemployment rate is approaching European levels, at 8 percent. But $800 billion, plus? That's outlandish. What's perhaps most disappointing is that the president continued to maintain that it was his way or the highway. After a first bipartisan coalition drew up a bill that cost around $450 million, Obama wanted nothing to do with it. Without explaining why -- and, notably, without citing any sort of research by any economist -- the president simply said that wasn't enough.

This bill could have been half this size, and it's disingenuous for anyone to claim otherwise. There has been no evidence proffered by the Democrats to suggest otherwise. The president knows it. 

And by the way, the White House still has about half of the leftover TARP funds to work with.

I'd like to know whether Barack Obama, Barney Frank, E.J. Dionne and Paul Krugman really believe that it will take $2 trillion to pull us out of each recession. 

My worry with last year's TARP bailout was that it would set a dangerous precedent, especially if Democrats regained control of Washington. As usual, I was right.

All told, the Senate will have chopped only about 10% off of the cost of Pelosi's package. That's not good enough.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has rebutted the president's suggestion that the economy will tank further if Congress does not act. It opined last week that although the bill might kick-start the economy in the short term, it will have a much more damaging effect down the road because of the enormous debt the bill saddles on the next generation.

As McCain noted today on Face the Nation, this bill is nothing more than generational theft.

And, as further noted by McCain, it would be even more disingenuous to call this package "bipartisan." Picking off three Republicans, out of the roughly 240 that serve in Congress, isn't any sort of bipartisan effort. The White House moved only as far as it needed to in order to garner the support of Specter, Collins and Snowe.

If the Democrats were truly serious about stimulating the economy and not just their spending proclivities, they would have agreed to the "trigger" provision that McCain attempted to add to the bill, which would have rolled back stimulus spending after two consecutive quarters of GDP growth, in an effort to keep spending under control.

This isn't "change we can believe in," Mr. President. 

It's more of the same.

1 comment:

aragonin said...

The glaring evidence of liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds. Now that Obama is President, clueless liberals have no problem accepting the reality that "mistakes will be made" and "no solution is perfect" with regard to the current "unprecedented" economic crisis. But when President Bush had to deal with a more "unprecedented" and far more serious and difficult crisis of Islamofacist terrorism and attacks on our own soil, the idiotic Left and their sock puppets in the mainstream media never missed an opportunity to highlight and exaggerate every conceivable misstep the President made. Bush (white conservative Republican male) was gleefully crucified for every mistake and for every single thing that went wrong, and was never given due credit for the MOUNTAIN of things that went right. Now we will watch as these same liberal morons lavish Obama (dark skinned Leftist Democrat) with praise for every little thing that goes right, while ignoring and sweeping under the rug the many things that he will get wrong. How typical and how laughably predictable. Liberals are synonymous with hypocrisy.