Stimulate This

Andrew Sullivan offers a series of salient, reality-based observations on the likely-to-pass stimulus package (below). With economic theories, you read the directions and the show goes live – no dress rehearsals. What we do know is that if it passes, and if it works, the  mythologies of the GOP, will be exposed and discredited. Which is why we see the GOP fighting so bitterly against majority opinion and most economists (including Saint Reagan’s chief economics adviser, which just goes to show the GOP deification of Reagan bucks the reality of Reagan, as these things so often do, but that’s a story for another time). If this thing works, the enitre “intelectual” framework being hoisted upon us these last years are done. Over. Toast. Forever invalidated. (And yes, it is delciously ironic to use Andrew Sullivan to back this up). Take it, Andrew:

a) no one knows quite what will work for sure;

b) Obama was elected in part to tackle this crisis and the election was obviously not a vote to continue the approach favored by the GOP;

c) Obama will be held responsible for the effects of the package, as he should be;

d) in the context of the current collapse in demand, the distinction between a “stimulus” package and a “spending” bill seems increasingly esoteric;

e) Obama did a great deal to try and bring Republicans on board and to allow for a to-and-fro; the GOP, for good or ill, had no interest in cooperating with the in-coming president. They too should be held accountable for this. If the bill fails to make a dent on the collapse of demand, and if it does end up hurting the US through even more debt, then the GOP will be able to make that point in the next election. But if it works, their opposition should be recalled.

f) none of this makes sense if looked at entirely alone. The looming financial reform package must be seen as part of the rescue. If Obama can find a center for serious long-term entitlement reform, then the long-term consequences of more debt in the stimulus bill will be drastically mitigated. Again, true fiscal conservatives will focus on entitlement reform as the balance to this bill – not stupid posturing over trivial issues like pork.


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