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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Sellout...The Betrayal?

I was on a conference call sponsored by Americans for Prosperity with Senator Jim DeMint. One caller was concerned that Republicans would accept small concessions and sign onto a bill that was still mostly a borrow and spend endeavor. Senator Demint is a firm free market, small government, low taxes sort of a politician. This was not something he would ever do himself. Much of the Republican caucus is like DeMint. Yet, it wasn't going to take much of the Republican caucus to get this stimulus to pass. It appears that the Democrats found just enough. Arlen Specter, one of those wooed, said something revealing.

Personally, I would prefer not to be on the edge of the pin, as so frequently is the case in this body," Specter said in a floor speech last night. "But I do believe we have to act, and under the circumstances, this is the best we can do."

Specter was exactly one of those that Demint worried about. Specter sees a flawed stimulus as better than nothing at all. Those like Demint and me see this stimulus as nothing more than a pork laden, socially engineered, spending spree that will only pile on useless debt with little if any stimulative effect.

Specter wanted to take some of the most obscene pork out of this bill in order to make it acceptable to moderates like himself. Well, if that is the case, he is about to get an up close and personal lesson in civics and the legislative process. This bill has passed through the House and soon the Senate. Well, it can't be law until both the Senate and House have identical bills. So, now, this bill will move to a conference of House/Senate leaders.

Of course, at most, there will be three Republicans in support of this bill. As such, while this committee will in fact be bi partisan, it will be full of true believer Democrats and a few Republicans that only mildly support this stimulus. As such, it is very likely that whatever concessions Specter et al will be undone in conference.

Don't believe me. Here is what Carl Levin said about the upcoming conference.

One, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, told reporters he and others hoped that some of the funds on the chopping block would be restored next week when negotiations open on a House-Senate compromise.

At its core, the legislation is designed to ease the worst economic recession in generations, and combines hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending with tax cuts. Much of the money would go for victims of the recession in the form of food stamps, unemployment compensation and health care. There are funds, as well, for construction of highways and bridges.

But the administration also decided to use the bill to make a down payment on key domestic initiatives, including creation of a new health technology industry and so-called green jobs designed to make the country less dependent on imported oil.

Speaker Pelosi, who will definitely be part of the conference, was even more combative.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took a break from the House Democrats’ annual retreat on Friday to say she is prepared to fight for her chamber’s version of the economic stimulus package.

Pelosi voiced her disapproval of efforts by senators back in Washington to cut nearly $100 billion in spending — specifically related to education — from the bill. But recognizing her words 150 miles away may have little impact on the Senate floor, Pelosi vowed to defend the House provisions next week in conference.

“I’m very much opposed to the cuts that are being proposed in the Senate,” Pelosi told reporters gathered at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. “But I think the
Senate will act upon the bill, we will then go to conference and we’ll see what product flows from there.”


With a majority of true believer Democrats ready to spend and spend big and a few Republicans only mildly interested in this bill, it isn't hard to figure out how the final product will look. We are likely to see almost all of the spending in the final product. Of course, now that it has passed the initial filibuster (once it does) it will only need 51 votes to pass. As such, once these Republicans sign on it will be too late.

What we are likely to see in the final product is a bill loaded with spending. The conference will be loaded with Democrats that believe in spending, social engineering, and in repaying their constituencies. There will be a few token Republicans that will have no power. The final product will have little if any spending removed. Senator Specter is about to find out just what it feels like to be betrayed, as such, he will join the rest of us who feel betrayed by him.

4 comments:

xformed said...

"...and under the circumstances, this is the best we can do."


Admitting defeat, accepting mediocrity, being tired and worn down, too lazy to stand for the Country.

Easier to roll over and listen to the soothing voice of The Bam-meister telling you it will be ok...

Just sold the US citizen down the line for a verbal stroke from the dis-loyal opposition of the taxpayers.

Indicator Veritatis said...

It is not a 'sellout', it is not 'betrayal'. It is just a little bit of the seriously overdue help our economy needs.

Macroeconomics 101: the health of the economy is determined by the available money supply, which in turn is very nearly dictated by the "C+I+G schedule" i.e. the sum of C=consumer spending, I=capital investment and G=government spending.

Obviously under today's circumstances, we cannot expect C or I to rise, so we have no choice: we must raise G.

Real economists have known this since Keynes published his General Theory in 1936. It is rabid ideologues and far right sycophants who continue to deny this.

You don't have to take my word for it. You can take the word of a Nobel Prize winning economist, who explains it all very well at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/opinion/06krugman.html?_r=1&em

One things emerges crystal clear: we NEED this stimulus and we need it IMMEDIATELY. Partisan wrangling is threatening the whole country mass unemployment for YEARS.

mike volpe said...

We certainly can't expect either consumer spending or business investment to go up when the government spends like crazy and drowns out any other spending.

When you say "real economists", those are economists that agree with you. It's funny that Keynesian economics has never worked in reality, but as long as "real economists" say it works that's good enough for you.

You can however stimulate both C and I by simply decreasing the tax burden on both. Imagine if we suspended or eliminated entirely the capital gains tax. You think this is more stimulative than getting rid of the capital gains tax. How about giving everyone a tax holiday for six months. Wouldn't that be more stimulative than massive government spending and borrowing.

Yanni Znaio said...

Anybody want to take bets on whether Indicator Veritatis' IP address would show up as Inside The Beltway?

Keynes is dead. So are this theories.

And asking government to fix the economy is like asking the guy who set your house afire to put it out.

You want to fix the economy? Cut taxes.

Period.