Friday, February 06, 2009

Spending Is Stimulus - - Why Don't Republicans Get It?

Do Republicans really want the U.S. to slide into an economic depression because they think that would improve their prospects in the 2010 election? Why else would they be obstructing a Bill intended to stimulate a faltering economy? Why else would they be calling help for families that have lost jobs, pork?

Our economy is in real trouble, this isn't a time for Republicans to be playing the same old stupid political tricks.

Obama Rallies Democrats on Stimulus Package
By Kate Phillips

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — President Obama urged House Democrats tonight to set aside their differences with the Senate and Republicans in order to push forward quickly with the stimulus package. At times, he sounded irritated with critics who contended the bill was too big or its purpose wrong-headed.

And while he was indeed before a friendly audience, or, as the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, phrased it, “among family,” Mr. Obama sought to chide his former congressional colleagues just a little bit:

  • “These aren’t just statistics. This is not a game, this is not a contest for who’s in power, who’s up and who’s down. These are your constituents. These are families you know and you care about. I believe it is important for us to set aside some of the gamesmanship in this town and get something done.”

... Continuing in a mocking tone of critics who complain ” “this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill,’ What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously, that’s the point. Now I got carried away,” he joked. But, “Here’s the point I’m making. This package is not going to be absolutely perfect, and you can nit and you can pick. That’s the game we all play here. What I’m saying is we can’t afford to play that game.”
... (NYT - full article)

Obama: Spending is Stimulus. That's the Whole Point!

Op-Ed Columnist
On the Edge
Published: February 5, 2009

A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clichés about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

It’s as if the dismal economic failure of the last eight years never happened — yet Democrats have, incredibly, been on the defensive. Even if a major stimulus bill does pass the Senate, there’s a real risk that important parts of the original plan, especially aid to state and local governments, will have been emasculated.

Somehow, Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again. ...(NYT - full article)


Cascajun said...

I watched President Obama's speech last night regarding the economic stimulus proposals now being considered by Congress. In the speech, President Obama asserted that the debate over Keynesian economic policy was settled long ago. In a nutshell, Keynesian theory is that government should spend massive amounts of money to reinvigorate a stagnent or declining economy; the veritable spend your way out of a recession. Obama then went further with his assertions, blaming the current crisis on the "failed policies" of George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress.

President Obama's assertions only jeopardize the slim odds any meaningful legislation will come from Washington. Furthermore, his assertions are intellectually dishonest and will do nothing to move the debate forward.

James K. Glassman, the former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, has an excellent piece in Commentary Magazine that addresses the debate over the merits of economic stimulus. In his piece, Glassman assserts that "we have learned almost nothing about the use of fiscal stimulus since the Great Depression, and it is a fatal conceit to assume that we can hurriedly construct a fiscal policy that will produce the prescribed results today."

Quoting Friedrich von Hayek, Glassman notes the folly of economists and policy makers efforts to treat economics and it's theory like physical sciences.

If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants.

Glassman concludes that stimulus in the form of "fiscal intervention with the express purpose of speeding up the normal regenerative unnecessary and almost certainly harmful, a policy based on hubris and anxiety, rather than on history and good sense." He suggests that "the proper way to analyze discrete proposals today for spending or taxing is on their own merits, not on their supposed ability to stimulate something else. There may, in fact, be a good reason for government to spend billions of dollars today on building highways, and it has nothing to do with stimulus. It is that long-term interest rates are at historic lows and that the right highways can boost the economy in the long term. There also may be a good reason, again far apart from stimulus, for revising the tax code and reforming Social Security and Medicare."

Today's drop in the stock market suggests that the debate over the merits of the proposed stimulus isn't settled. At the very least, Obama's speech didn't instill any confidence in the markets.

My hope is for an honest debate and a change from the intellectually dishonesty and finger pointing we see in Washington.

jpeg said...

your conclusion supposes the stock market is some kind of measure of the economy. i think of it as more of a symptom and a measure of how casino capitalism is going....and i also consider the casino the petri-dish of pathology.
the current crisis we find ourselves in has ALOT to do with the g w bush(they really pulled out all the stops) but it really got going with reagan/bush/clinton.
and the borrowing and stealing and exporting toxic war and war toys around the world has burdoned us with never ending debt with nothing to show. i'm totally amused by the right wings new talking point about "generational theft" when referring to the economic stimulus proposal.

that is sooooo rich!! these people have more nerve than a bad tooth. they have been living large on our credit cards to the tune of what $12,000,000,000,000

what a concept to have something to show for our debt that has something positive to do with our lives. i am fully behind taxing and spending and fully against the borrowing and stealing that has been going on. (war profiteering used to be illegal)

so break out the credit cards, stop the bleeding, step on the brakes(cliff ahead) and turn this country around.

mad Nomad said...

Finger-pointing? must be a republican. only republicans whine these days. Whats the matter? You got your 800000000000$ stimulation... now the real americans get theirs.

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