Friday, January 30, 2009

Really House Republicans? Really?

I found this article at Slate and it really irked me.

Now I’m not an economist. In fact, my one semester of required economy class in high school is pretty much the extent of my knowledge. I try to never argue subjects I don’t know a lot about (how I wish everyone felt the same) but I know the writer of this article completely missed the mark.
When President Obama's economic recovery plan passed the House along partisan lines Wednesday, 244-188, some Democrats expressed surprise that not a single Republican voted for the bill. "Not one person felt his or her district needed to have any of this assistance?" one Connecticut Democrat told the New York Times. "That can't be."

Of course not. Republicans have acknowledged as much. In notes jotted down during a Tuesday meeting with Obama, one GOPer noted: "We expect the vast majority of House Republicans to oppose the package tomorrow, but we are optimistic that after the bill passes the House there may be a real opportunity for a bipartisan package." In other words, we will come around. But at this moment, unanimous opposition was the smartest stance House Republicans could have taken—both politically and ideologically.

Voting against the bill was good politics because it shows that the GOP can't be persuaded by charm alone, presidential or otherwise. Sure, Republicans risk coming off as stubborn in the face of Obama's ostentatious magnanimity. But at this stage, there's nothing wrong with playing hard to get. There will be time for bipartisan necking later.

Another advantage is that the vote makes Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor look good. The fact that zero out of 178 Republicans broke ranks shows a united, disciplined front. On a symbolic vote like this—one of the first of the 111th Congress—sending a signal is more important than reaching an immediate compromise.

Lastly, voting against the stimulus is win/win for Republicans. If the package succeeds at reviving the economy, it won't be in the short term. (And even in the long term, success will probably be less tangible than its cost.) If it fails, they can say, I told you so. Meanwhile, many of them are looking for political cover after voting for the October bailout, which hasn't exactly been a roaring success.

“There’s nothing wrong with playing hard to get?” What the hell is that suppose to mean? And why is sending a signal that Republicans are only interested in compromise when it’s in their favor rather then actually working for the American people a good thing?

We are still at the “I told you so” stage? I’m sorry to break it to the Republicans, but the Democrats are going to win that argument for quite a while.

I also don’t think the Republicans will be looked upon as somehow being the champion of us regular folk. This author completely disregards the fact that it looks to some (at least to me) that Republicans would rather try to strong arm democrats, even though they don’t have the muscle, than actually try to help the economy.
Still, the ideological argument for opposing the stimulus may be even better. Put yourself in the shoes of a vulnerable House Republican up for re-election in 2010. Your constituents may be skittish about the idea of spending $850 billion, but they want to see some sort of action—especially if they live in Iowa or Michigan, which are hemorrhaging jobs by the day. (Before the inauguration, 53 percent of Americans supported Democratic efforts to craft a stimulus package, and an even larger majority supported infrastructure spending.) At the same time, you want to be able to say that you have been a loyal member of the opposition, with an instinctive skepticism of Big Government. (Leaving aside, for the moment, what you said and did for the eight years leading up to now.)

The best path forward, then, is to express skepticism, hold Obama's feet to the fire, fight for changes like more tax cuts and less spending on birth control (done and done), and then finally sign on. See, for example, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's insistence on including a provision that keeps the alternative minimum tax from falling on middle-class families. Consider that many Republican districts will benefit from massive government spending—highways, wind energy, and expanded Internet access all help rural areas—and it may be hard to say no. (It's no coincidence that Dems are targeting Grassley, who is up for re-election in 2010.) As long as Republicans can show they put up a fight, that's cover enough.

For more evidence that some Republicans will come around, look at the alternative bills offered Wednesday. One of them proposed $445 billion in tax cuts, with less spending than the Democratic bill. But the Democratic bill already includes at least $273 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. By the time negotiations are over, it's easy to imagine that number creeping up to the $445 billion Republicans requested. Yes, the spending projects may still turn off many Republicans. But they won't be able to say there weren't sufficient tax cuts.

Both sides like to claim the mantle of bipartisanship while insisting that the other side is obstructing. Boehner claimed Wednesday that "[t]he onus is on Speaker Pelosi. She needs to meet with us. She needs to open her doors. We need to begin to work truly in a bipartisan fashion." That could be pure posturing. But if incentives mean anything—and to Republicans, they do—the pledge of eventual bipartisanship may be legitimate.

More tax cuts. Right cause that’s the solution to everything. God people are morons. Why don’t we allow the people who actually know something about economics to decide the right path and not let every dick head with a microphone or pen *cough Rush Limbaugh cough* tell people who are too lazy to actually look anything up themselves that tax cuts are the answer?

Tax cuts don’t work. All this talk that businesses will use the tax cuts to hire more people is ludicrous. We already have plenty of people to work and factories to make things. We just don’t have anyone to buy them (otherwise known as DEMAND).

I’m also tired of this “big government” argument. It just doesn’t make sense. If we look at countries that have these so called “big” governments we'll see that a lot of them have a higher standard of living then America. Obama said it right, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”

And why should the democrats have to do all the work when it comes to bipartisanship? Maybe republicans should remember that a lot of their colleges were replaced and stop with the bickering about spending because it’s pretty pathetic when a winter storm can leave an entire section of our country without electricity and our bridges collapse under drivers.

Here's a brilliant video of Rachel Maddow:

And I am totally loving the idea of the White House publishing state by state numbers of the amount of jobs these Republicans voted against.

1 comment:

  1. Boehner is my "representative," and I assure you that he is an alcoholic, corrupt idiot. The reason that Boehner continues to repeat the "tax cuts" idiocy is because the guy has never, and will never, come up with anything that hasn't been fed to him.

    The Republican Party cannot begin the comeback process until they address the dope-addicted pedophile in Florida, and the complete and utter idiot that sits as the House Minority Leader. McConnell seems to intuitively understand that. I don't believe any of the House Goppers are smart enough to.


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