January 29, 2009

Not Stimulating

I’m glad the House Republicans, and a handful of “conservative” Democrats, voted against the Stimulus package … I guess. I definitely don’t think this indicates that they’ve “grown a pair,” as Stacy McCain claims. But perhaps he knows something I don’t?

The GOPers have essentially gone into ?principled opposition? mode in which they?ll start voting against the kind of Big Government legislation they know will pass anyway?and which they would have undoubtedly supported had a Republican been in the White House and their party been in control of Congress. Such stalwarts of limited government would have also voted ?nay? last night if Obama had proposed, say, a trillion-dollar prescription drug plan, a proposal for the greater federalization of public schools, or a 700 billion fund for the ?troubled assets? of the Wall Street bankstas. Indeed, though Obama’s plan includes infrastructure funding and lots of family-planning and STD prevention giveaways to Democratic Party aligned groups, the basic premise of the proposal isn’t much different than that of the “stimulus package” the most Republicans supported last year?remember that 600 bucks you got in the mail? (And by the way, it didn’t work.) 

It?s also become quite clear that the conservative movement, which will start to have more pull with House Republicans now that they?re out of power, is essentially clueless about the kind of financial crisis we?re facing. Take for instance, this morning?s WJS op-ed from movement grand poobah, Rush Limbaugh. According to Rush, ?The average recession will last five to 11 months,? so we need not worry. Well, using the government?s calculation of GDP, we?ve already been in a recession for over a year now, and it?s hard to imagine us pulling out of it any time soon. Some of the measures Rush recommends are undoubtedly good, like slashing corporate taxes. But ultimately Rush?s plan amounts to the same ol? ?no-tax and spend? policies of the Bush years?let?s give everyone tax cuts and some more government! Yes, it?s probably politically impossible to shrink government with the Democrats in control, but Rush seems oblivious to the fact that public and private debt?which stands at 350 percent of GDP and which Rush wants to increase?is at the center of the current crisis (which Rush thinks is just a mild bumb in the road.)

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