OK, Where Did the Other $157,000,000,000 Go?
That's what the AP isn't telling us in this story about moderate Democrats and Republicans reaching a compromise on the Senate version of the stimulus bill.
Now, as I said last night, the stimulus bill is far from perfect. However, this is what happens when Nero fiddles while the economy burns until well past his reign. I'm not necessarily sad to see over $150,000,000,000 cut from a bill that had ballooned to almost $940 billion in the Senate but the question I have to ask is: What was cut?
Well, here are some clues: Susan Collins (R-ME) had this suggestion:
Collins Friday morning circulated a roster proposing $88 billion worth of net cuts from the measure. She proposed eliminating money in the bill for K-12 education while boosting funding for Pentagon operations, facilities and procurement by $13 billion.
Typical Republican, putting the military ahead of the education of our children and by lobbying for cuts in education while boosting military spending by $13 billion. Sure, since the unemployment is already up to 7.6%, the highest it's been in over 34 years, why not throw a few more teachers in the street?
And, yeah, fuck the cities and towns. Let's just free up another 13 billion bucks for the Pentagon, which is the favored earmark of Republicans since 2001. And how the fuck is blowing more money on the Pentagon, basically keeping it in the family, supposed to stimulate the economy? How is that going to educate our kids and fix bridges, levees, highways, schools, hospitals? How will it free up home equity?
It's one thing to bang your head against a brick wall and to demand that others join you. It's another thing entirely when you become the brick wall.
The Republican Party hates being branded the Party of No every bit as much as the Democrats flinch at the thought of being branded as weak on terrorism. But the plain fact is these fine, pragmatic statesmen are not simply the Party of No but the Party of No Ideas, the Party of No Imagination, the Party of No Independent Thought.
Deregulation and tax cuts, deregulation and tax cuts is all we're hearing, as if these two cardinal, Reagan-era principles that got us into this mess just needs a little more time to prove themselves, like a fuckup of an employee or a stubborn lawn mower or a wife beater who keeps saying, "I'm sorry, I won't do it again YOU BITCH! WHACK!"
It's hard to believe that these politicians who've been in Congress for decades both individually as well as collectively can be so shit stupid as to believe that this snake venom that has been ill-administered to us for going on 30 years and is on the verge of killing us is still the panacea for all our ills.
And, knowing the Democrats as well as I do, I can tell you right now that a lot of good and hard-working people will suffer somehow, some way and some time as a result of the $157,000,000,000 that they'd agreed to slash from the stimulus bill so they could suck two measly votes out of the GOP. And, after all this time wrangling and haranguing Republicans, when the final bill gets put on his desk, the President will have no choice but to sign it.
Update: Paul the Spud has the lowdown over at Shakesville. You're not gonna believe what the GOP got for their two votes. Eliminations to Head Start. Cuts in funding for battered women, to transportation, school construction. Food stamps. What did the GOP get in return? 13 billion in military funding and, of course, their tax cuts. I hope Obama vetoes this piece of shit and throws this deflated ball back in Congress's court just for spite.