Friday, February 13, 2009

Deficits and Deceit: Barack Obama's Stimulus

Andrew Sullivan, responding to Jim Manzi, goes off on the GOP in his latest hissy fit, "If The Right Were Intellectually Honest ...":

The GOP has passed what amounts to a spending and tax-cutting and borrowing stimulus package every year since George W. Bush came to office. They have added tens of trillions to future liabilities and they turned a surplus into a trillion dollar deficit - all in a time of growth. They then pick the one moment when demand is collapsing in an alarming spiral to argue that fiscal conservatism is non-negotiable. I mean: seriously.

The bad faith and refusal to be accountable for their own conduct for the last eight years is simply inescapable. There is no reason for the GOP to have done what they have done for the last eight years and to say what they are saying now except pure, cynical partisanship, and a desire to wound and damage the new presidency. The rest is transparent cant.
Sullivan is literally the last person in American politics who should be lecturing others on intellectual honesty. As Fausta notes today, "I stopped reading Sully a while ago when I got overwhelmed by his rhetoric. Simple as that ... His writing has become more bizarre with time, particularly when it comes to his shameful and embarrasing attacks on Sarah Palin’s children."

As for the Democrats and the stimulus, not only is Sullivan hypcritical, he's disastrously wrong, as the Wall Street Journal indicates:

The bill will mark the largest single-year increase in domestic federal spending since World War II; it will send the budget deficit to heights not seen in 60 years; and it will establish a new and much higher spending baseline for years to come. Combine this new spending, and the borrowing it will require, with the trillions of dollars still needed for the banking system, and we are about to test the outer limits of our national balance sheet.
The editors are actually hammering the "three amigos" of GOP bipartisanship, Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Arlen Specter.

But the larger message here is Democratic hypocrisy and fundamental dishonesty. The last few weeks have seen this country's most sustained political fearmonering campaign in history. Where FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, Barack Obama deliberately sows fears to hoodwink the public, stifle dissent, and bludgeon the opposition. It's amazing, but in less than a month, the most severe warnings from last year against Democratic-socialist authoritarianism are coming true. I know many folks on the right were willing to give the new president the benefit of the doubt, myself included. The crisis is real, folks readily acknowledged, and calls for post-partisan transformation are endlessly attractive, like a leggy brunette in a mini-skirt on a Friday night. But any inkling of bipartisanship long ago went out the window with the appointment of Rahm "The Knife" Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff (and his erswhile colleagues in the Democratic majority).


The news this week shows that Judd Gregg's withdrawal as treasury secretary-designee follows his being duped into joining the administration as a cover for bipartisan comity on economic policy, and the realization that the White House was in fact pushing a lie on seeking cooperation across the aisle (see William Kristol on Rahm's Census Burear power grab, for example). Indeed, amid renewed calls to repeal the Bush tax cuts, it won't be long until we see the Democrats foisting off new rounds of government expansion, what James Pethokoukis calls "Son of Stimulus," in the months and years ahead of Democratic-socialist government.

I'm sure Andrew Sullivan's down with that.


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UPDATE: I just found Dan McLaughlin essay, "
Barack Obama’s Gift To Conservatives," which provides a nice affirmation of Pethokoukis' point on the growth of Democratic-socialism:

Obama and the Democrats have now committed themselves irrevocably to massive growth in government spending, and the odds are that they are not done there, as we are likely to see the ghosts of economic liberalism past and of Eurosocialism present come knocking: more marginal tax hikes, a government takeover of health care, protectionism, massive new regulations, measures to tip the labor-management balance towards unions, restrictions on energy production, you name it. No serious adult can believe that any of this will help the economy; Obama, by always talking about “saving” rather than creating jobs, seems to imply that he, too, recognizes that he can’t promise any improvements. Indeed, liberal economic policy has never been about enabling growth so much as assuming it will happen and fighting over how to divide the spoils. Republicans and conservatives can feel secure in their opposition to these economic policies because we know they don’t work.

So there you have it: Obama and the Democrats, by ramming the ’stimulus’ bill through on a party-line basis and bulldozing Republican opposition, have taken ownership of old-time Big Government liberalism; they have surrendered to Republicans the very issues that divided the GOP and attracted moderate swing voters to the Democratic banner; they have energized and galvanized their opponents; they have discarded the pretense of bipartisanship; and they have, in the end, lashed themselves to the mast of policies that are proven not to work. The only thing the stimulus bill will stimulate is conservatism.

3 comments:

Tapline said...

DD, You are so right....Toooooo late.......They will wake up,,,maybe.......stay well....

Donald Douglas said...

I hope this country wakes up, Tapper...

UNRR said...

This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 2/14/2009, at The Unreligious Right