“The stimulus was political nirvana: cut taxes and raise spending,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the fiscal watchdog group Concord Coalition, who is among those invited to the summit. “This is the opposite; it is the political agenda from hell.”
Some of the promises made by Barack Obama may have disappeared. Much talk of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle leading up to the stimulus package and his administration in general along with transparency have faded. Quotes like the one above needed to generate debate on the stimulus before it became law. As cited by many in Congress, mostly from the GOP, no one may have had time and no one certainly read the 1000 plus page document. Hundreds of politicians voting on something they know little if anything about. And the public was shut out. Where is the promise from Obama that the public would be able to view and comment on the ‘proposal’?
Now we finally hear warnings and criticism that deficits will be too high, long term economic health is being ignored for expediency and there may be a ‘grand plan’ for the third rail of politics in the near future. While concern is voiced about entitlements and they were once the critics’ favorite target deficits and the willingness of foreign countries to buy our debt have taken center stage. With the new Secretary of State essentially begging China to buy more US debt and the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee on an appeasement mission to the Middle East we have much to be concerned about beyond the overwhelming insanity of the economic ‘fixes’ coming out of Washington.
Despite the embarrassment caused by Gregg’s about-face, the White House believes that he could be one of its most important allies in the overhaul of Social Security, Medicare, and tax policy. That is because Gregg is the co-sponsor of the measure that would create a bipartisan commission to put together far-reaching recommendations for an up-or-down vote by Congress.
In an interview, Gregg said that under such a procedure, the measures could be passed within a year, as long as most of the benefit cuts and tax increases were not slated to take effect until well after the recession is over. “We need an up-or-down vote on a package that will be unquestionably bipartisan and fair,” Gregg said, a reference to criticism that Obama’s stimulus bill was too partisan.
Financial numbers from the Obama Administration that could make the man of steel wince and the opposition party talking benefit cuts and tax increases for social security is reason enough to conclude Washington has lost its collective mind. Not like it wasn’t a strong suspicion in the past but there is no other way to paint it these days.
Adding to the problem is evidence a previous post here asking whether GOP governors would embrace porkulus for their states has been answered. Two Democratic governors and two GOP governors were on Fox News Sunday and the view here is they all will gorge at the pork table. Granholm, Democratic governor of Michigan, said not only would she enjoy the pork but would eat the other’s shares if they turned it down. Rendell, Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, mentioned he will only be governor for a while longer and will plunder the pork yet be concerned about the problems facing those after he leaves. That’s reassuring. Mark Sanford and Tim Pawlenty, GOP governors of South Carolina and Minnesota respectively, were slightly more vague about their pork menus. Sanford will likely continue to criticize the stimulus and only indulge in those items for which he can acquire political cover. Pawlenty will undoubtedly do the same.
Going out on a limb the view at this blog is there is no politician alive who will not take the money. If Obama maintains a policy of use it or lose it you can bet staffers of every politician have already compiled a variety of public statements to cover every possibility. Either they will take the money and offer an excuse or offer the excuse and then take the money.
To listen to those praising infrastructure spending and citing the need can cause one to wonder if Saddam Hussein was not the only one ignoring such things in the last few decades. As an example the governor in my home state has been accused of robbing the transportation budget to pay for pet projects during his tenure. Now he looks forward to porkulus to make up the difference. But what is to stop him from doing more of the same. It would be no surprise if other states found themselves in the same situation.
And CITI group, bank, whatever, as well as other beneficiaries of the ANOTHER bailout of many are again asking for more money. You have to ask yourself if this will ever end? And perhaps more important will it do any good for the ‘economy’? Which brings to mind another words of wisdom type of sentiment.
When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.