Saturday, February 7, 2009

Stimulus Socialism

We are now roughly three weeks into the Barack Obama presidency, and with the push for a radical socialist makeover in the Democratic stimulus package, the contours of this nation's partisan and ideological chasm are now on full display.

Job Losses

Let's first take stock of where things stand: Unemployment is pushing 8 percent, and the scope and speed of job losses compared to the 1990-1991 and 2001 recessions is said to be "unprecedented." Meanwhile, the latest public opinion data show Americans are "are more concerned about losing their jobs than at any point in more than a decade."

Given all of this, it'd be hard to argue against the need for a vigorous governmental response on the economy. The real question is what to do, and as the administration and Congress have shown throughout the debate on the stimulus package, leftist ideological fundamentalism has turned the focus away from economic recovery toward Democratic pork-barreling and interest group socialism.

The morning's lead editorial at the Wall Street Journal captures the administration's tremendous lost promise on economic leadership, "
The Stimulus Tragedy":
Everyone agrees that some kind of fiscal stimulus might help the economy, and that running budget deficits is appropriate in a recession ... [but] Mr. Obama chose to let House Democrats write the bill, and they did what comes naturally: They cleaned out their intellectual cupboards and wrote a bill that is 90% social policy, and 10% economic policy ....

Some Democrats claim these transfer payments are stimulating because they go mainly to poor people, who immediately spend the money. Tax cuts for business or for incomes across the board won't work, they add, because those tax cuts go disproportionately to "the rich," who will save the money. But a saved $1 doesn't vanish from the economy, unless it is stuffed into a mattress. It enters the financial system, where it is lent to others; or it is invested in the stock market as capital for businesses; or it is invested in entirely new businesses, which are the real drivers of job creation and prosperity.
This is simple economics and common sense. Yet, the Democratic-left is so determined to use its power to satisfy every pent-up demand for social spending that reason be damned.

I looked around at some of the top radical blogs for a flavor of the demands for economic redistribution on the left.

Firedoglake responding to opponents of the bill:

Fantastic. Not only is this a failure of basic humanity, it's a failure of economics as well. For all the Republicans' and conservative Democrats' wailing about all the "wasteful" and "un-stimulative" spending in the bill, none of them see any problem with the $300 billion in tax cuts, despite the fact that they're roughly one-fifth as effective as those food stamp increases that just got whacked.

These cuts to the stimulus aren't economics, they're conservative politics: "You don't want the government taking your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People, do you? It should be given to the corporations so they can create more jobs!" These wankers would rather let us spiral into another Depression than give kids and poor people even a fraction of the compassion they gave the pirates and clowns who got us into this mess.
Here's Obsidian Wings on potential cuts to porcine state social programs:
It honestly boggles my mind to see so much money taken out of this particular category. Again, these cuts would be palatable if there were some semblance of a policy rationale for doing so. But there’s none. Instead, the fate of state budgets everywhere must take a backseat to the desires of Senators Nelson and Collins to be perceived as very serious centrists. Forty billion dollars is a lot to pay to help protect two Senators’ ideological self-image. Perhaps the two Senators could write a sympathy card to laid-off state workers reminding them of how important abstract concepts like centrist budget hawkery are to the nation's well-being.
Now, check out Kathy at Liberty Street with a bit of authoritarian outrage:
With the Senate dithering and Majority Leader Reid not forcing the Rep “Do-Nothing” ublicans to actually filibuster, we really need to be more concerned with our government failing ... $800 billion is not a big enough stimulus plan, especially with 42% of it going to tax cuts. Maybe it is time to eliminate the Filibuster Rule (Sen Bill Frist threatened to do that a few years back) and just steam roll the obstructionists.
Actually, before last night's recissions the proposed legislation stood at $920 billion and counting. That's more money that the United States has spent in nearly six years of fighting the war in Iraq.

So all of this leftist outrage is quite revealing of partisan loyalties and ideological commitments. For the left, attacks on conservative budget policies and "deficits" are merely cudgels with which to trash the GOP for its alleged disregard for the "less fortunate" and to advance a socialist takeover of the state. Meanwhile, simple economics indicate that a careful combination of tax cuts and targeted spending for critical infrastructure would be best for stimulating the economy.


Photo Credit: "LONG LINES: Applicants wait for interviews at a jobs fair in McLean, Va. The nation's unemployment rate hit 7.6%, new data showed. Treasury moved to revamp its bank-bailout plan as the Senate was poised to vote on Obama's economic-stimulus package" (Wall Street Journal).


Norm said...

Gee, these bloggers are really upset that the proposed tax break for Hollywood was withdrawn from the bill. Too bad for Streisand and Spielberg, they won't be able to recoup their campaign donations this year. Ah, but there plenty other Democrat special interest groups still getting their millions.

Good thing we are not paying this debt back....screw our grandkids, they can afford it.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

#1 - It's nearly impossible to deal with children who think that their parents can give them everything just because they demand it. Spoiled leftist bloggers demand benefits with no understanding of limits and boundaries or that money must be earned. They're just lost. They went from 3 year old to 30 year old with no maturing in between.

#2. One quick point, Donald on why this is going to be a Great Depression. This economy is a house of cards, to great extent. A "service sector economy" has no way to stop the downfall of itself upon itself as it begins to unravel. Manufacturing jobs where the products are still selling and needed and used... those jobs will be like a "firewall". It's the "firewall" of manufacturing jobs that will stop the fire of job losses from moving all the way through this economy. However, it's about only the manufacturing jobs that will - and the few service sector jobs those jobs provide.

Donald, I believe we're going to hit Great Depression rates of unemployment - and then some - my gut says 35% is coming in this downturn - in a tsunami as this "service sector" house of card falls.

Just one factor, imo, why this most absolutely is a Great Depression coming. With this "Stimulus Socialism" package moving forward - the unintended consequences are, imo, unavoidable now barring an incredible scientific discovery of an incredible low cost renewable energy source. Only incredible innovation and ingenuity of invention could save us. But I don't think it will.

We've gone over the cliff... and we're falling... and it's gonna hurt... when we hit bedrock. That's what I'm seeing.


sexy said...