more stimulus

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As imperfect as the Democratic stimulus package is, a backlash is being manufactured against it; for example, see MediaMatters' debunking of the myths here. Thers writes at FDL that the stimulus bill presents an "existential crisis" to conservatives:

The stimulus bill is making "conservatives" run around like screeching idiots for two reasons. It is of course their default mode. More importantly, though, if the bill works -- even if it just kinda-sorta works -- then what do they have left of their dogma? If it can be shown that the government can actually do stuff like "fix problems," then there's no just point to conservatism. [...] All "conservatism" is, at root, is vapid sloganeering about how "government doesn't work." It's easy enough for them to "prove" this when they're in charge, as they've so spectacularly demonstrated. But what if someone can come in after them and run the place competently?

I would say that this is partially incorrect--to the extent that conservatives do believe that government does work sometimes. It works to fund the military-industrial complex, and to scare the populace into supporting its use and thereby justifying its cost; it works to keep the intricacies of various international and domestic affairs secret; it works to obscure the levers of power (and their use) from our sight by drowning our attention in scandalously trivial sensationalism.

Jobs are evaporating at 600,000 a month, and the rising unemployment only exacerbates our problems with home foreclosures and government budgets. Do we really want to let the GOP insist that we rearrange the deck chairs while they scurry onto the lifeboats? Economist Paul Krugman, writing in a NYT op-ed, notes that "It's hard to exaggerate how much economic trouble we're in:"

Count me among those who think that the president made a big mistake in his initial approach, that his attempts to transcend partisanship ended up empowering politicians who take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh. [...] It's time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation's future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge. [emphasis added]

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Limbaugh is hardly the only wingnut to be on the wrong side, as Joe Conason reminds us at TruthDig:

It is worth recalling that the last time Congress debated these fundamental questions came during the winter and spring of 1993, when Republican members unanimously rejected President Bill Clinton's first budget. Back then, Dick Armey, a Republican representative from Texas and former economics professor, warned that Clinton's proposed increase in the top tax rate would lead to economic disaster. Those predictions were echoed by every right-wing politician and talking head and soon was proved utterly wrong by the historic growth rates of the Clinton years.

Now we hear Armey offering the same kind of predictions about the Obama stimulus plan--and he is treated as a sage rather than a dolt who bet the ranch on his ideology and lost.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 6, 2009 4:17 PM.

parallels was the previous entry in this blog.

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