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Posted by on Feb 18, 2010 in Economy, Politics | 4 comments

The Death of “Yes, But…”

On the first anniversary of the stimulus bill, the Washington of absolutes is on display–Obama’s “Yes We Can” vs. the GOP’s “No You Don’t” with little space for the reality of mixed results and mixed feelings about a huge enterprise to save a crashing economy.

“Anniversary of Stimulus Met with Praise and Scorn” is the headline of ProPublica, noting that, in judging whether the stimulus has worked, “where you stand depends on where you sit.”

The public-interest journalism organization is getting much less attention for efforts to report on what is actually happening than the partisan conclusions of Vice President Biden that “we have served the American people well” and House Leader Boehner labeling of the results as “dismal.”

The media are divided as well. A New York Times analysis emphasizes that “the best-known economic research firms…estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.”

But the Wall Street Journal finds that “instead of spurring recovery, this spending spree has retarded it by frightening the public and business about future tax increases and the rising burden of public debt.”

In this closed-minded climate, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank sees benefits for “a crucial sector of the economy: critics of the package, who right now are enjoying record production levels and full employment. This burgeoning industry of conservative lawmakers, political operatives, think tanks and media outlets has benefited enormously from the legislation.”

As it always is nowadays, hypocrisy is rampant.


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  • Axel Edgren

    A real leader sometimes goes against the public and rams things down their throats. W was a leader. A stupid, irresponsible leader who lead his country the wrong way, but he was still a leader. Obama is not, because he wants to tread gently. Hey Barack, no one is impressed and no one cares about your vision for the US. The public has rejected your gentile approach, and you can’t make them quit their addiction to semiotics that quickly. The insects and the weaklings in congress have repeatedly abused every inch of ground you’ve ceded in your display of magnanimity, hurting you and the people who rely on you. A leader makes people follow. Democrats aren’t leaders. Republicans are leaders, just very very bad ones.

    It doesn’t matter if your stimulus was a decent, responsible measure in a very bad situation – you were unwilling to fight for it and the scum in congress made it worse while the sheep were taught that it was a failure that didn’t produce any jobs. It doesn’t matter if you are taking down terrorist leaders – the scum are painting you as “soft” and since you want to play modest, their shamelessness lets them cover the airwaves and the internet, and the sheep don’t know any better. It doesn’t matter that the current reform bill is the best one that can be achieved for a long time considering all 60 democrats have to vote for it and this gives much clout to a few people (you think C-SPAN would have helped? You think that the same old scumbags wouldn’t have continued making the bill worse while being forgiven because they are “centrists”?). The scum have painted it as a socialist mess that will destroy everything, and the sheep have followed suit.

    Quantity matters in America’s polity now, not quality. Large symbols matter more than complex and flawed yet fundamentally sound realities. Obama is trying to apply 17th century courting to a 21st century club bimbo, so it’s no wonder he is 50/50 in the polls.

    You are president for a reason. The public is the public for a reason. You don’t need a mandate to do the right thing, and if you are afraid of repercussions, just hammer it into people’s heads that it is a good thing. But whatever you do, don’t let them make up their own minds, because considering how America looks right now, that will only make their minds worse.

    Edit: Yes, I’m aware that many democrats siphoned money to their states. Please be aware, then, that it was dumb dumb dumb to insert tax cuts into the stimulus in order to get symbolic GOP support. I think Obama should have told the people that he wanted a damn good, ideologically neutral stimulus based only on economic reality, and that congressmen who were playing chicken were douchebags, regardless of party.

    Also admit, please, that you can’t scream unconditionally about the deficit and complain about the stimulus’ impact on jobs at the same time. 1,6-1,8 million jobs wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the stimulus, which had to be expensive. If Obama had asked for a bigger stimulus, you would have said he was buying jobs with deficit spending to look good. Also, McCain would have bailed out and voted for TARP. Also, McCain would have been McCain.

  • Leonidas

    Yes they can spend your money, and your children’s money too.

    • Axel Edgren

      By your logic, we should have some pretty extensive environmental legislation down pat by now.

  • DLS

    “Yes they can spend your money, and your children’s money too.”

    It really is Other People’s Money. (Don’t forget the granchildren and later payors, Leo.)

    It was bad enough that last year’s stimulus was misconstrued and involved overreach by Washington in addition spending that alarmed the creditor China as well as alarming Americans. The budget and purported plans for subsequent years are inexcuseable, including small but significant deficits that continue indefinitely. It’s degrading vote-buying, bread-and-circuses, opiate-of-the-masses stuff.

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