Freitag, Februar 06, 2009

The Stimulus Bill, The Democrats and Obama...

We all know - or at least 43% of those queried seem to believe - that the Stimulus Bill, in its current form, isn't much of a stimulus bill and is really, all of Speaker of the House Pelosi's claims to the contrary, a massive reward to those who support the Democratic Party and more pork than you really can shake a stick at. It left the House at $937bn.

It passed the House handily, with no Republicans and a number of Democrats opposing it for this reason.

It's now trapped in the Senate, as the Republicans and a few Democrats working to make it more sensible and less absurd.

The President followed the narrow rules of the game: he let the Democrats in Congress fashion the bill and is counting on the Democrats to get it through both houses of Congress. His role, as he seems to be playing it, is to point a finger and basically proclaim: "Pass this or The World As We Know It Will End".


Fear tactics to get legislation through? Isn't that what the Democrats criticized President Bush for doing when it came to the legislation for Homeland Security? Yep, thought so.

Now the President, faced with defeat in the Senate - the largest Republican alternative to the Obama spending bill is less than half the size and consists largely of tax cuts, i.e. plans on doing something that will actually have an impact - is...

...meeting with Republicans to work out a deal? Nope.

...meeting with Republicans to integrate some of their ideas into something that can pass the Senate and be signed into law? Nope.

...trying to persuade even just one or two Republicans that even larded up, his legislation remains the greatest hope for recovery? Nope.

...taking his case to the public in order to change their negative views and put pressure on Republicans to change their minds? Nope.

Well, then what is the President doing?

He's flying Air Force One to Williamsburg, Virginia, on his way to a Democratic Party retreat, at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa.

Ummm, for the readers not well versed in US geography, I looked up the distance between the two: it's 114 miles. Well, more exactly it's 113.57 miles.

Hell of a distance to fly in a 747.

Of course, the real problem is that the Democrats, unlike the Republicans, use public funds for their get-togethers: 50% of the costs of the Democratic Party retreats are borne by the taxpayers. Republicans use lobbyist money instead.

Rather than trying to cooperate with the Senate - which, given that the Republicans continue to have a filibuster-proof minority, he will need to do in the future - he has chosen to get out of DC and tell his party the following:

"I welcome this debate, but we are not going to get relief by turning back to the same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin"

First of all, Obama's plan to throw money at the Democratic Party's patrons is going to double the national debt one hell of a lot faster that that.

Second of all, Obama apparently actually believes that economics is what got us into this problem. It's not: the problem, as I have documented here several times, is political interference in markets.

Given the spending bill and the way that is plans to spend on purely political goals, what Obama is offering is more Democratic incompetence and malfeasance. Let's reparse what he says:

I want Republicans to roll over and play dead, since we can only repay our patrons by continuing to give them taxpayer monies for projects that will make them lots of money and ensure payback, and to hell with the country while we do that.

That's the real story behind the Stimulus Bill.

What is appalling is the arrogance: he won the election, and therefore - therefore! - he gets to run things the way he wants to. I fear that is going to be the mantra over the next several weeks: I won the election, I won the election, I won the election. Fine: he did. He's President.

Doesn't mean that the Republicans are going to roll over and play dead. Not the way our system works, and it's damned arrogant - and foolish - to think that simply by winning, everything will change. Of course, that is the platform he ran on, isn't it?

Pride goeth before a fall, the saying goes.

Oh, and when questioned about what to do with folks facing foreclosure, he said that he would include money for "distressed houseowners" in the next bill coming along to purchase "distressed mortgages". In other words, spend taxpayer money to postpone the inevitable.

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