What's All This Then?

commentary on the passing parade

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Monday, February 16, 2009

I don’t know if the stimulus bill that President Obama plans to sign in Denver tomorrow will do all that he hopes it will do. I don’t think anyone really knows or can predict the effect it might have on our faltering economy. Some parts of it will obviously be of immediate help. Direct aid to states will keep some people working who might otherwise have been laid off . It may even help to fund some projects that have been on the back burner. But other parts are hard to understand. The so called tax break for the middle class is a joke. $400 for an individual or $800 for a family will make zero contribution to kick starting the economy

The bill is there for all to read at various sites on line.This is the official site - but I’m not sure that reading it will give anyone confidence in its hoped for success..

But while I’m somewhat skeptical, I’m not a rejectionist. . Certainly I have no basis on which to condemn the bill out of hand - as every Republican in the House and Senate other than Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania seem to be doing. As I watch and listen to the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham and John Boehner declare with absolute certainty that the bill will fail even before it’s been signed into law, I’m filled with a sense of gratitude that this crowd is no longer in charge of anything. They have absolutely nothing to offer in the way of ideas other than the time worn tax cuts for people who need it the least. I swear if these people had a free hand for an unchecked length of time, they would propose tax cuts as the way to cure cancer and convert all terrorists to lovers of freedom and the American way.

Boehner is a total joke, with his histrionic acts in the House. At least this time he didn’t burst into tears as he threw the pages of the bill on the floor, complaining that no one had had a chance to read it. I didn’t realize that the economic downturn had reached Congress - but I’m assuming that if no one has read the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, there must have been a severe cut back in Congressional staff - because those are the people who usually do the reading - and the writing on behalf of their elected employers. Still, not having read the bill didn’t stand in the way of Mr. Boehner reaching the conclusion that it was a bill that wouldn’t work.

McCain, who at one time I thought was signaling that he would work with the new President to bring a different attitude to Washington, has been particularly disappointing in his knee jerk anti attitude. After Obama reached out to a whole mess of Republican lawmakers and included several of their suggestions in the final bill version - McCain said that that wasn’t bipartisanship. Bipartisanship, says the Republican standard bearer, is getting together with the party out of power and hammering out the details of a bill with them - the way Bush senior and junior and Reagan and Nixon and all those bipartisan Republican presidents always did. I’ve written here before on several occasions on the subject of who McCain really is - and he hasn’t helped me to arrive at any conclusion with this latest incarnation.

But of all the Republican naysayers, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham gets the hypocrisy award of the young year. He says the recovery bill is a joke. It’s not a recovery bill at all. It won’t work. And so on ad nauseum. So when a reporter asked, rhetorically, if he would thus reject any application of it in his state, he of course said no - he wasn’t going to have any part of a bill that was a waste of the taxpayer’s money and would put our grandchildren and great grandchildren in horrible debt - and wasn’t going to work anyway. Except that wasn’t what he said. No sir. Failed bill or not - if there was money on the table for his state, he was going to take it. It would be a wasteful thing to do of course - but he’d take it anyway.

I guess his answer preempted the suggestion that is coming from all quarters of the non-rejectionist segments of our society - and that is that is that benefits of the various bill’s provisions be restricted to those who voted for it. . I wouldn’t wan t to suggest that those states represented by Senators and those districts represented by Congresspersons who voted NO be cut off from receiving any benefits that might accrue to them - but I would make it clear that there would be no automatic benefit for those states and districts. As an addendum to the bill, I would recommend that those members of congress who voted NObe required to state publicly whether or not they wish to have their states and districts participate in any benefits that the bill provides.

You want to guess how many "NO" votes you’d get on that proposition?