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GOP Stimulus Alternative February 2, 2009

Posted by neoavatara in Economy, Politics.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Obama's charm can only go so far...policy trumps rhetoric in the end.

Obama's charm can only go so far...policy trumps rhetoric in the end.


For those wanted a Republican alternative to Obama’s stimulus plan, here it is.

Sen. Mel Martinez has crafted a $713 Billion rescue plan.  The plan includes $430 billion in tax cuts, $114 billion for infrastructure projects, $138 billion for extending unemployment insurance, food stamps and other provisions to help those in need and $31 billion to address the housing crisis.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to slowly pick apart the Democratic proposal that passed the House last week.  More boondoggles:

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion pictures

• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program

• $248 million for furniture at the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census

–$345 million for Agriculture Department computers.

— $15 billion for college grants.

— $870 million to combat the flu.

— $88 million to provide a new building for the Public Health Service.

The pork in the Democratic bill, in my calculation, amounts to somewhere in the range of $8 billion, or 1% of the package.  Not a huge amount, but of course we are not even talking about the broadly defined infrastructure projects, that may or may not turn out to be pork-laden.  On Monday, Senate Democrats dropped two controversial spending programs in the Senate economic stimulus bill: $75 million for anti-smoking programs and $400 million for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.  But even Democrats are concerned:

“I have communicated to the administration,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., “that there are parts of this package that don’t meet the test that they themselves established of temporary, timely and targeted.”

And you know it is bad when even liberals in the media are worried if Mr. Obama really thought out his first real battle as President, almost hoping for a rabbit-out-of-the-hat moment; from Nancy Gibbs of Time:

I would not put it past this president and his team to have calculated that this engorged House bill was precisely what the system would yield; that the Republicans would oppose it out of both principle and politics; that there would come a moment, once all the Old Bulls had had their say, for the New President to ride in to the rescue, and actually fulfill his promise of Change We Can Believe In by turning this into a Bill We Can Actually Live With. Maybe he is building to a denouement, when a president who promised to make hard decisions takes a sprawling bill that tries to do so many things at once and performs some highly public sacrifices of some Democratic sacred cows. And by so doing, shows who’s really in charge of leading America out of these dark times.

If that’s the way this goes, he will have earned a hat as big as Texas. But if he keeps saying the right things while Washington keeps doing the wrong things, he will be worse than a passive leader: he will be the one who, with all the energies and hope he unleashed, brought the Democrats back to power, broke the legislative log jam, and drowned us all.

It is possible a compromise could be reached in the Senate.  Senate Democrats appear to be more open to increasing tax cuts and decreasing spending.  Obama also appears on board.  It will come down to the will power of the White House to fend off accusations from the extremist left to pass a bipartisan bill.



1. futiledemocracy - February 2, 2009

I stopped at “$430 billion in tax cuts”
They’ve been tried.
They didn’t work.

neoavatara - February 2, 2009

Yeah…1982 obviously was a figment of our shared imagination.

And I guess the fact that the New Deal didn’t cause significant economic growth (and didn’t work) doesn’t matter either.

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