Friday, February 6, 2009

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.


At February 6, 2009 at 7:24 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for cross-posting this at my place. What's horrific about this bill is that by the time they finish gutting it, it really IS going to be just tax cuts for the rich and pork -- and Obama is going to own it, completely.

If he has realized that the Republicans don't want the economy to improve, they want it to get worse so they can come riding in on their white horses (presumably wearing robes with hoods) in 2010 and 2012, then he's realized it too late. I'm not convinced that he DOES realize it. And even if he does, too many Congressional Democrats are being paid off by the same interests that will get fat off this bill. And none of those interests are you and me and the rest of the citizenry.

At February 6, 2009 at 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Pentagon, which is the favored earmark of Republicans since 2001"

I would go back to Reagan's intentional damage to the US economy in 1981. The GOP then set out to implement a long-term plan to kill all manufacturing in the US and impoverish the middle class, turing the US into a third-world country.

One of Reagan's hallmarks was to go into massive debt and hand all that money to the Pentagon as welfare checks and to cut public services to create misery in American citizens. Another was to weaken the unions so that US citizens would hve less bargaining power to make a living wage.

The UAW is an example of what Americans should be making in an hourly wage, what we should be making. Today $10/hr is a normal pay rate, but we should all be getting $25 - $35 per hour. Thanks to the GOP our salaries are 1/3 what they should be and we now no longer manufacture anything ourselves, except weapons of mass destruction intended to be used on civilians.

The GOP has ruined America.

PS: I've been working at various of my 5 jobs this week and so I've not read you blog. I am eager to read the book excerpts you posted. BTW, I added up my W2s and 1099s for 2008 and found that I am supporting a family of four on $19K gross, without any health care or taking any social services. God damn the Republican Party.

At February 6, 2009 at 9:11 PM, Blogger Bukko Boomeranger said...

Like Rutherford, I remember the weapons spending of the Reagan era. That was the first Republican bubble to overtake the American economy. Remember how California boomed then, with all the high-tech military plants in SoCal? Remember how that spread fictitious prosperity to Amarillo, Texas, where they built nuclear weapons, and to communities that had military bases? It was all done with deficit dollars, but like a shot of steroids into a wheezing asthmatic, it made things look better for a short time at the cost of long-term damage later.

It would be great if this stimulus built long-term strength. If it was investing in stuff like tram systems for every major American city, using rails and tram cars built in America, that would have a payoff for years to come. (The tram network they have here, and in most Western European cities, will keep life functional even when the oil runs out.) I suppose that would take too long a time to produce dividends, though, and the economy needs a shot of speed right now. The trouble with speed is that you feel worse when it wears off. (Not that I'd know anything about that, but I've heard...)

Unfortunately, it looks like the forces of obstruction will prevail, and stall things like a possum in the middle of the road stalls when the headlights hit it. And we know what happens next. America really is a Clusterfuck Nation.

At February 6, 2009 at 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama should have preempted all prime time TV tonight and laid it on the line to the American people. There is an imment economic F5 tornado on the horizon and it will destroy what little is left of any value held by about 90% of our population. Declare bipartisanship a dead issue. Tell the GOP obstructionists in the senate that he only wants 3 things from them. Sit the fuck down. Shut the fuck up. Stay the fuck out of the way. Hang this shitstorm around their necks right now.


At February 6, 2009 at 11:53 PM, Blogger nunya said...

Watch this babe.

At February 7, 2009 at 5:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what did the post say? i can't stop staring at the brick people.

At February 7, 2009 at 5:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Obama vetoes this piece of shit and throws this deflated ball back in Congress's court just for spite.

it's coming back to the house where i hope to hell pelosi reshapes it again. i just read the cbo report (thanks to rising hegemon for breaking it down for me first). even they say we'll get more of a return on government spending (aka "welfare") than we will with tax cuts. bastards are spinning it as saying the opposite.

At February 8, 2009 at 2:01 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Pelosi reportedly told the Democratic leadership that she told Obama that she resented him throwing her under the bus over and over again.


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