Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shrewd Move

Yesterday’s block vote by House Republicans against the economic stimulus package should have come as no surprise, I guess. Because this bill requires a simple majority, they were in a win-win situation. Having gone on record as opposing the whole package, they can’t be blamed for any part of it that doesn’t work. On the other hand, if miracles occur and the economy turns around in short order, they can’t be blamed for blocking progress, either.

Hats off to the Republicans.

As a busy listener tuning in to occasional news reports, I can list a few things the GOP, in general, doesn’t like: funding for arts, education, and public works projects, to name a few. Without getting into questions of why employment of artists and curators, teachers’ aids and city planners don’t seem to be of particular value to Republicans, I’d like to hear more about specific stimulus projects they would like to see.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps if Citizen Jane checked out some news sources other than public broadcasting, she would find that there is ample record of the sorts of economic stimulus the Republicans support, namely, private-sector projects. Tax relief to encourage corporate investment is preferred over the type of government spending that will have to be paid for somehow out of tax revenues.
Admittedly, these are interesting times, and it is unlikely that the conventional solutions of either side of the economic debate will adequately resolve the nation's economic woes. But it behooves all parties to the debate to be aware of and respectful of the positions of the other sides. We can't afford a "knee-jerk-reaction" program -- which is clearly evidenced by the panic bank bailout of last fall. Where's the benefit? In the billions of dollars of bonuses paid to Wall Street executives this year? The Republicans have a lot to offer in suggesting that Congress go slower and take a more balanced approach to whatever stimulus package(s) they can devise that will actually work. We need something that helps both individuals and corporate citizens, that stimulates jobs -- and therefore tax revenues -- as well as something that actually helps the country. Obama's stimulus package may do just that, but let's not rush to pass it in the first weeks of the administration just because it's new and the Democrats have the votes. Let's encourage our Senators and Representatives to give careful consideration to all aspects of the proposed programs and to come up with something that will help us in the near term without leaving massive deficits for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren to struggle with in the future.

Citizen Jane said...

Greetings, Anonymous!

I'll ignore your suggestion that I limit my information gathering to one source. If you feel that I'm uninformed, why waste time responding to my remarks?

I will admit to being busy, however, and I do wish I had more time to do more in-depth research. In that respect, I operate under the same handicap as almost all Americans--we have to be as well-informed as we can be under the circumstances, which are not always favorable. That's why I think an attitude of openness and humility is important (not that I always achieve that standard).

Be that as it may, it seems your argument may contain a bit of a contradiction. You admit that the efforts of the outgoing Bush Administration to throw money at the problem by corporate bailouts doesn't seem to have done much to solve the economic crisis. Yet you say that tax relief to support "corporate investment" is the preferred way to stimulate the economy. Is there a difference between allowing companies to keep their money and simply giving it to them?

As to private-sector investments, I believe we define the term differently. I think of small arts organizations, small businesses, and individual entrepreneurs as the "private sector." By my definition, mega-enterprises like major banks and investment firms are in a different category all together. Their lack of responsibility for their impact on the economy--as well as the government's failure to monitor and regulate them--is at the root of the problem. They have functioned almost as a government unto themselves in recent years.

As to time, do we have it? Both the outgoing administration and the current one have said no. There has been much preparation and deliberation--much of it bipartisan--during the past few months. It's possible that delaying too long can make the damage irreversible. (It's already irreversible for millions of families and individuals who have been harmed by loss of jobs, savings, and hope for the future.)