Skip to comments.Blue Dogs Getting Spending Fatigue[View Video of Brief after Wed’s Meeting with Leading Economists]
Posted on 10/22/2009 3:27:09 AM PDT by Son House
The reservoir of Democratic support for legislation to stimulate the economy while adding to the deficit is drying up.
Already faced with what many economists are labeling a jobless recovery, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are considering passing more measures to lower the nations highest unemployment rate in 26 years.
Most of the fixes Democrats are eyeing would add to the budget deficit, which was recently estimated at $1.4 trillion. But fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats and the Democratic freshman class of 2008 are raising objections. Some members of these two factions reluctantly went along with the $787 billion stimulus package earlier this year, but they are not ready for a sequel.
I think we have just got to get serious about the deficit, said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the president of the class of freshman Democrats. I would have to really be persuaded of a dire situation and one thats getting worse, frankly, to have any enthusiasm for a second stimulus.
Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a co-chairman of the 52-member Blue Dog Coalition, said he would have to hear a very compelling justification for further adding to the deficit, even for the sake of fostering more job growth.
My constituents, I think, have had it with spending, Hill said. And I concur with their sentiments.
Republicans are targeting Hills seat in the 2010 cycle.
While the ingredients for another stimulus have not been finalized, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday made two things clear: Additional stimulus measures are needed, and Democrats will add to the deficit to pay for them.
Pelosi held a forum with top House Democrats and a team of economists whom Democratic leaders have entrusted with guiding them toward the best legislative responses to the recession.
Each of the economists who spoke to reporters following the session said everyone in the room had signed off on a strategy of temporarily ignoring the budget deficit for the sake of economic recovery.
Despite the fact that were looking at an absolutely horrendous long-term fiscal problem most of us around the table believe that at least a modest increase in the deficit, targeted very strongly on job creation, not a scattershot would be appropriate, said Alan Blinder, a former Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisers official during the Clinton administration. I think this is a case where its both good policy and good politics.
Hill said the Blue Dogs have not talked formally about their collective approach to further economic patches embraced by the White House, ranging from unemployment insurance extensions to $13 billion worth of one-time Social Security checks.
But the Blue Dog leader said there is far less appetite among the group for stimulus-based deficit spending than there was in February, when 10 Blue Dogs rejected the final $787 billion stimulus.
The Blue Dogs are going to have to speak for themselves on that particular issue because we havent talked about it in our caucus, Hill said. But knowing many of my Blue Dogs, I think they would probably have the same views.
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), another Blue Dog co-chairman, and Connolly both spoke about the greater level of public anxiety about the deficit, which they believe is catching up with disquiet about the economy and unemployment. Theres a growing concern about the deficit spending that weve encountered just in this calendar year, Matheson said. We have to be very careful about the way were running up our debt right now.
Connolly agreed, adding that whatever Democratic consensus existed in February doesnt necessarily exist now.
Borrowing to fund the $787 billion stimulus bill was appropriate earlier this year, Connolly said. But its now October, the economy is growing and I think we have to now reset the balance between needed stimulus and needed fiscal restraint.
Many of the freshmen in Connollys class are vulnerable to GOP charges that they have helped balloon the deficit while creating fewer jobs than Democrats promised.
The White House and congressional leaders have argued that the stimulus prevented a Great Depression, claiming it saved many jobs. But some have acknowledged that the stimulus did not create as many jobs as they predicted.
Pelosi said she is considering a range of stimulus ideas, including an array of initiatives from the Appropriations Committee.
Despite her openness to another spending bill and her admission that controlling the deficit is a secondary priority, Pelosis aides maintain that Democrats are approaching job creation in a fiscally responsible way.
[Wednesdays] meeting with leading economists was critical as Congress formulates fiscally sound and economically effective policies to help create jobs and grow our economy, Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said.
Meanwhile, polls show that Republicans have yet to rid themselves of the fiscally reckless reputation they earned during their 19952006 reign over Congress, but they continue to believe that Democrats are now just as vulnerable.
The deficit is a bill that we pass to our children and grandchildren in the form of higher taxes, slower economic growth, less freedom and a lower standard of living, said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio). Anyone who isnt deeply concerned about it is living in La-La Land.
Former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder says GDP is growing but jobs are ‘still shrinking’. Some topics:
Greater fiscal responsibility
Limiting what could be a worse economic out come
Persuade people things are getting better
Absolutely horrendous long term fiscal out look
Modest increase in the deficit targeted very strongly on Job creation
Mindful of long run deficit problem
Long run commitment to greater fiscal responsibility while still trying to alleviate the Jobs Problem
Here’s the original linked article, the top one is freep,
If you read the original post you’ll see it is even their own Democrat leaning economist telling Congress what a mess their tax and spend policies are
Of the other economists presented by Pelosi as being an ideologically diverse group, all are friendly to liberal economic policies. Alan Blinder of Princeton, for instance, was made Federal Reserve Board vice chairman by President Clinton after serving on his Council of Economic Advisers, and Blinder advised both the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns.
“Blue Dogs” as rated (2008) by the National Taxpayer’s Union:
Altmire, Jason (PA-04) Rating: F
Arcuri, Mike (NY-24) Rating: F
Baca, Joe (CA-43) Rating: F
Barrow, John (GA-12) Rating: D
Berry, Marion (AR-01) Rating: F
Bishop, Sanford (GA-02) Rating: F
Boren, Dan (OK-02) Rating: F
Boswell, Leonard (IA-03) Rating: F
Boyd, Allen (FL-02) Rating: F
Bright, Bobby (AL-02) Rating: None
Cardoza, Dennis (CA-18) Rating: F
Carney, Christopher (PA-10) Rating: F
Chandler, Ben (KY-06) Rating: F
Childers, Travis (MS-01) Rating: D
Cooper, Jim (TN-05) Rating: D
Costa, Jim (CA-20) Rating: Rating F
Cuellar, Henry (TX-28) Rating: F
Dahlkemper, Kathy (PA-03) Rating: None
Davis, Lincoln (TN-04) Rating: F
Donnelly, Joe (IN-02) Rating: F
Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08) Rating: F
Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08) Rating: F
Gordon, Bart (TN-06) Rating: F
Griffith, Parker (AL-05) Rating: None
Harman, Jane (CA-36) Rating: F
Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie (SD) Rating: F
Hill, Baron (IN-09) Rating: F
Holden, Tim (PA-17) Rating: F
Kratovil, Jr., Frank (MD-01) Rating: None
McIntyre, Mike (NC-07) Rating: D
Marshall, Jim (GA-03) Rating: F
Matheson, Jim (UT-02) Rating: C-
Melancon, Charlie (LA-03) Rating: F
Michaud, Mike (ME-02) Rating: F
Minnick, Walt (ID-01) Rating: None
Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05) Rating: D
Moore, Dennis (KS-03) Rating: F
Murphy, Patrick (PA-08) Rating: F
Nye, Glenn (VA-02) Rating: None
Peterson, Collin (MN-07) Rating: F
Pomeroy, Earl (ND) Rating: F
Ross, Mike (AR-04) Rating: F
Salazar, John (CO-03) Rating: F
Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47) Rating: F
Schiff, Adam (CA-29) Rating: F
Scott, David (GA-13) Rating: F
Shuler, Heath (NC-11) Rating: D
Space, Zack (OH-18) Rating: F
Tanner, John (TN-08) Rating: F
Taylor, Gene (MS-04) Rating: D
Thompson, Mike (CA-01) Rating: F
Wilson, Charles (OH-06) Rating: F
Congratulations to Jim Matheson of Utah, he leads the Blue Dog pack with a C-.
These people are stark, raving mad.
The stimuloss was supposed to creat jobs. “Shovel-ready” jobs.
Unemployment has increased, stores are closing, banks aren’t lending, people can’t get credit for homes and cars, and we have a monstrous debt to show for it.
They are insane. I think hell will freeze over before the public would accept more debt for another stimuloss.
The “blue dogs” will vote for it, they always seem to
The fascists are the ones who support endless budget deficits.
“I think we have to now reset the balance between needed stimulus and needed fiscal restraint.
That train left the station long ago. This crowd and others have dug their own graves and better begin the resume process ASAP.
They keep calling it a jobless recovery. They should start calling it a recovery-less recovery.
If the Democratic caucus follows it's principles, the only question is how much more spending/debt. They have general tax increases, direct spending, and a temporary 15% reduction in cost of labor, but only for new hires (the cost of existing labor is not affected by the proposed tax policy change), and only for a limited time (1 year, II RC). I think that targeted tax-reduction proposal would also increase the debt.
Will the public like it or accept it? Some will, probably 40% will clamor for it.
In the humpty dumpty world of US politics, words mean whatever the speaker asserts. By redefining "recovery," they could likely make an economic depression into a recovery - "we aren't accelerating the freefall anymore = recovery." See too, "jobs preserved," which facilitates counting the same fact an infinite number of times, to whatever degree necessary to claim success.
Sad thing is, a substantial fraction of the public does NOT see through the baloney.
The Dems may have miscalculated when they backloaded the stimulus funds to kick in next year in a cynical move to bribe the public during an election year. Now folks are looking around and asking why the stimulus isn’t working and the Dems can hardly explain they’re using that money to buy an election instead of creating jobs.
Right. And do you think for ONE MINUTE that people who can’t find work and others who have lost their homes or had their pensions wiped out are going to again vote for the rats who did this.
“This crowd and others have dug their own graves and better begin the resume process ASAP.”
ONe should never overestimate “the electorate”. They will probably vote to keep “this crowd” in power because they feel brilliant when they do so. (Isn’t it better to have brilliant Democrats in power than stupid, knuckle-dragging Conservatives?)