Jan 262009

That didn’t take long. John McCain is on TV this weekend saying he won’t vote for the stimulus package. Other leading Republicans are complaining about the package not having enough tax cuts…blah, blah, blah. Of course they’re also on all the Sunday morning talk shows complaining about the dangers of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, and prattling on with the lies about all the released prisoners “returning” to the battlefield.

I’ve checked, and not single Republican in either house of Congress has a Nobel Prize in Economics, but Paul Krugman does, and he seems to know his way around an economy. In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, Krugman talks about the Republicans taking “obvious cheap shots:”

John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services — and called it a plan to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives.”

Krugman goes after the on-going Republican argument against government spending and for tax cuts about how people are better at judging at how they spend their money than the government.

The point is that nobody really believes that a dollar of tax cuts is always better than a dollar of public spending. Meanwhile, it’s clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts — and therefore costs less per job created (see the previous fraudulent argument) — because a large fraction of any tax cut will simply be saved.

And let us not forget that the Republicans were all in favor of the Wall Street bailout plan (TARP). I find it interesting how that stimulus package was so acceptable without tax cuts, but this plan, which helps average Americans get jobs, just won’t work.

Boehner was on the Meet The Press Sunday railing about dubious statistic of 61 of the released Gitmo detainees being back on the “battlefield.” Well, first, it should surprise no one if we snatch someone for no good reason, torture them and hold them illegally for 5 or more years, and then that person goes back and decides he hates enough to join the fight. However a study published by Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux on Jan. 15 finds the Pentagon wrongly altered its figures on terrorist ‘recidivism’ 43 times, with the latest figure being “the most egregiously so.”

The Republicans seem to have always thought that bipartisanship means that everyone must agree with them. For some reason, the spineless Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have gone along with the bullies, thinking somehow the Repubs won’t be so mean to them, if they just give them everything they want.

I’m hoping that Obama is going to demand that Pelosi and Reid grow a spine. It sounds like maybe he has one. It’s been reported that Obama, during a White House meeting with Congressional leaders last week, said matter of factly, “I won.” That pretty much sums it up, and it is a message the Republicans need to understand, and Democrats need to use. Obama just needs to move his plan forward, and then let the Republicans vote against it, then go to the airwaves and exploit his 68% approval rating and tell the American people he’s doing all he can, but we’ll have to help him move some Congressional Republicans along.

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