The nation’s current recession is likely to be the longest since World War II, and by some measures could be the worst since the Great Depression, a new Congressional Budget Office forecast said Tuesday.
Without a major economic stimulus plan, “the shortfall in the nation’s output relative to its potential would be the largest – in terms of both length and depth – since the Depression of the 1930s,” said new CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in testimony prepared for the House Budget Committee.
The analysis is sure to add important momentum to the effort to enact an $825 billion stimulus by mid-February. President Barack Obama is meeting Tuesday morning with House Republicans and plans to meet with Senate GOP members in early afternoon. The nonpartisan CBO is highly regarded by both parties.
Momentum may be added, yes, and the CBO may indeed be highly regarded, but, if the Republicans have their way — and, thankfully, they won’t — there won’t be any stimulus package.
“Republicans find their voice,” contends Politico, playing up GOP unity, but it’s the voice of right-wing ideology and obstructionism at a time when Americans are suffering and need help. In the House, where there is far more extremism among Republicans than in the Senate, the two top Republicans, Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, again according to Politico, “told their rank-and-file members [this] morning during a closed-door meeting to oppose the bill when it comes to the floor Wednesday. Boehner told members that he’s voting against the stimulus, and Cantor told the assembled Republicans that there wasn’t any reason for them to support the measure.”
Really? There’s no reason to support the stimulus package? Not even to boost an economy that is bleeding jobs, to pull the country out of what is shaping up as the Great Depression II, to help Americans put food on the table, pay the bills, and support their children?
Seriously, why do these Republicans hate America so? Why are they such a bunch of selfish pricks? Democrats, if I remember correctly, rallied around Bush after 9/11, though it was Bush and the Republicans who partisanized the resulting war on terror? Why are Republicans not putting country first now?
But maybe some good will come of this. As Creature put it earlier today: “Since it is now crystal clear that the GOP will oppose any, I repeat, any, stimulus bill that comes before them, it’s time to write a bill that gives them no concessions and even less consideration. It’s time to ram a Democratic bill through and twist one, or two, moderate GOP arms and be done with this bi-partisan madness.”
Basically, it’s time for a “better bill,” in Steve Benen’s words: “The White House has been willing to make all kinds of concessions to win over Republican support, but it’s not enough. Since the GOP is going to vote ‘no’ anyway, why not make the bill as effective and progressive as possible? If there’s no point in the majority party offering unwelcome enticements to those who’ll remain obstinate anyway, then pull the enticements and let the majority party do the right thing.”
The Republicans are showing once again who and what they really are: a mean, nasty mob of self-interested, partisan zealots. At a time when it’s essential to do what is right for America, and for the American people, Obama and the Democrats will have to do it themselves.
(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)