You’ve got to be kidding, right? Here we are, apparently on the brink of total economic collapse due to, among other things, eight years of frivolous GOP spending on things like a war in Iraq, tax cuts for the top ten percent of the population, obscene handouts to the well connected businesses like Halliburton, and irresponsible deregulation here, there, and everywhere. The middle class is crumbling under the weight of health care costs, college costs while trying to cope with the loss of home equity and an increasingly decrepit infrastructure… yet, in his infinite wisdom, President-elect Obama has decided that the way to cure all of this is to put the government further into debt in order to give out tax cuts?!? I guess that’s what happens when you pick people like Larry Summers as your economic advisors or — gasp! — Treasury Secretary. Lewis Carroll must be laughing somewhere (or sharing beers & laughs with George Orwell), because this kind of nonsense belongs in Alice in Wonderland.
Change We Can Believe In surely was something more than tax cuts. As I recall, Tax Cuts or Bust was the rallying cry of the GOP when their posse of crooks and liars took over a few years ago. Making Bush’s massive tax cuts permanent was supposed to be McCain’s ticket. So, even if these cuts are more fairly distributed, each American gets something like $500 as a one-time tax rebate — it still won’t hit until sometime in the middle of ’09, and at best won’t trickle anywhere up or down until later that year. Much of it will be spent paying off accrued debt or for buying random shit (obviously part of the plan that we go out and spend, and since we’re a consumer economy we’ll spend it on “stuff”) — but much of it will be imported (whee — HDTV here we come!), so we’ll simply be adding to the trade deficit and at best keeping some Wal-Mart cashiers and chinese sweat shop kids employed for a bit longer. Random businesses will perhaps get a few thousand more to buy some machinery or make some other kind of investment. Big whoop. Then what? A trillion dollars or so later, we’ll still be up the creek with no paddle. And, uhm, as you may recall, Dubya already tried the “here’s a hundred bucks for ya; now shut up and go get stuffed” approach to economic stimulus last year. It accomplished absolutely nothing for nobody, just added to the fat tab for eight years of mismanagement.
Where’s the grand vision, the epic shift, the plan for the future? We all knew (though the kool-aid drinkers were in denial thru most of his campaign) that Obama was no progressive, but these times call for something more. We’re unfortunately burdened with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in Congress — the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum of stupidity and ineffective party politics, so real leadership has to come from the President.
It’s still early and the full stimulus package has yet to be rolled out. Give the man the benefit of the doubt — maybe his friend Rick Warren will call upon a higher power to rain down money on our poor suffering nation in return for promising to burn teh gays at the stakes…
(Photo from here)
Update: Josh Marshall puts it this way:
Obama seems to be telegraphing that to a significant degree the fundamental structure of the legislation is being built around accommodating the concerns of Republicans — members of a political party that are about as unpopular and weak as you can get at the moment. And that sounds a lot like he’s negotiating with himself, something that will embolden opposition and invite Republicans to up the ante even further.