Thursday, March 12, 2009

Republicans Are Treating The Economic Meltdown As If It Were A Crop Failure

As noted here, having decided to be against President Obama's $787 stimulus package more for sheer political mendacity than philosophical reasons, congressional Republicans -- and a few GOP governors -- have dug themselves a hole so deep that they can barely see daylight and their game playing with a people stricken by a serious case of the recessions is not playing well out on the hustings.

As it turns out, the states of the governors who refused to take stimulus money are getting truckloads of it anyhow, but you've got to hand it to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for being extraordinarily stuck on stupid.

Reports CNN:

"Sanford plans to ask President Obama for permission to use part of his state's stimulus money to pay down its debt, not on new spending, according to a letter he sent state legislators Tuesday.

"A longtime opponent of the president's nearly $800 billion stimulus package, the Republican governor told his state's lawmakers that spending approximately $700 million in money coming from the federal government would only make the state's financial situation worse in the long term.

" '[W]hen one is in a hole, the first order of business is to stop digging, ' " Sanford wrote in the letter."

Yes, John McCain is said to be (belatedly) coming up with a Contract With America-style economic plan as a counter to Obama's although his self-admitted ignorance about all things economic was a nail in his presidential campaign coffin, but the effluvia emanating from the mouths of so-called Republican leaders who don't have radio shows and prescription drug problems is astounding.

Take House Minority Leader John Boehner, whose recipe for what ails America is simplicity itself:
"It's time for government to tighten their belts and show the American people that we 'get' it."
To which Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman replies:
"Remember, John Boehner is, in effect, the second-most influential member of the GOP (after Rush Limbaugh). And while Democrats hold a majority, it's not enough of a majority to make the minority party irrelevant.

"So the fact that Boehner’s idea of economics is completely insane matters.

"What's insane about Boehner's remark? He’s talking about the current economic crisis as if it were a harvest failure -- as if we faced a shortage of goods, so that the more you consume the less is left for me. In reality -- even most conservatives understand this, when they think about it -- we're in a world desperately short of demand. If you consume more, that's GOOD for me, because it helps create jobs and raise incomes. It's in my personal disinterest to have you tighten your belt -- and that's just as true if you're 'the government' as if you’re my neighbor."

Then there is the GOP mantra that Obama, who has been in office for a mere 50 days, and not George Bush is responsible for a recession now in its 15 month and showing no sign of abating. (Or is the suddenly bullish stock market a sign that it is? Who the heck knows?)

Opines the self-righteous David Harsanyi:

"Isn't it too early to judge? It would be if Obama had not accelerated the timeline with his 'ambitious' agenda, including the partisan trillion-dollar project masquerading as a stimulus bill and the deficit-busting budget. It would be if Obama had not worked early to support agenda-driven omnibus pork bills, job-killing cap and trade schemes, and union assaults on workers' rights, to name just a fewof his priorities."
Barry Ritholtz effectively puts the lie to this nonsense in noting that:
"I no more think the 2007-09 crash is Obama’s fault than I believe the 2000-03 Tech wreck was W's fault. The key forces causing a market collapse were already in motion when each President was sworn in. Others do, and I have suggested these pundits were revealing their own partisan biases rather than making informative commentary about markets."
Ahem and amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand this. Is this what they mean by "cutting off your nose to spite your face"?

Whether you're left or right, wouldn't you want to do what's best for the people you're serving?

Our president came into office with the best of interest @ heart. Just as Bush did. I am a convert Democrat, but I still believe that Republicans also had the best of intentions.

It's similar to me refusing my son food that his father provided because I hate his father.

Too simplistic an analogy or not?