The Obama administration is slowly clunking towards passage of a clunker of a so-called stimulus bill. Why? Because it surrenders the high ground to the enemy. Krugman's take on the emerging "solution" resonates: "[T]o appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts." It's reported today that the Democrats have managed to corral three Republican votes in the Senate to ensure a filibuster-proof 60 votes. (And even those three aren't in the bag. They are tenuous and totally dependent on the Administration stepping up the line they drew in the sand.)
But at what cost? Well, basically, at the price dictated by the party that got their asses thoroughly kicked and then handed to them in the recent election. That's right, brothers and sisters. Last time I checked, the Republican party and all of its economic nostrums about tax cuts and trust-the-market and no-government-spending-except-for-war were completely repudiated by the voters in November when they elected a person who promised them change, real change. And yet, we're looking at a so-called stimulus package that's composed of at least 42 percent tax cuts, as well as one the Republicans have also dictated that billions of dollars destined for beleaguered, broke states be stripped from. Mind you, all this is to get a measly two or three Republican votes. The rest of the Senate Republicans are simply going to give the Democrats and the country a great big finger, just like they did in the House.
So what in the hell is going on here? Let me be blunt: I don't know if the stimulus package the Administration (originally) proposed is the answer to the frightful economic woes we're facing as a country. Actually, I fear that the bill is way too small. But I can say with almost complete assurance that the Republican demands for more tax cuts and less spending on this and that in the bill are guaranteed to be worthless. It seems to be patently clear that these miserable policies have failed. So what is the point of handing over Democratic aims, Democratic solutions, Democratic policy to the Republicans so they can gut them like a strung-up hog and dance gleefully around their campfire with the entrails of the bill draped over them?
I'm sorry. But if the best thing the legislative process can produce in the face of the worst disaster this country has faced since the 1930s is the same old partisan posturing we've all gotten so sick of, then screw both these parties and the horses they rode in on. At a time that calls for drastic action, for a whole new way of operating, what we're getting is the same old crap. Politicians bloviating while millions of regular people bleed. It just really chaps me that what the people said in November--change things!--is simply being ignored while the same cast of insiders plays its same old game. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Obama is so desperate to appease his, our, political enemies. These people have already ruined us. Why are we coming back for a second helping?