Skip to comments.Opinion: The GOP and the Politics of Economic Pain(Keynesian Barf alert)
Posted on 06/30/2010 8:28:44 PM PDT by sickoflibs
(June 30) -- With the country fixated on the adventures of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the BP spill, it's understandable that last week's most depressing news might have passed a few people by: The U.S. Senate is intent on extending America's economic misery.
Led by all its Republican members and Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the Senate is filibustering a bill that includes, among other things, emergency jobless benefits. As a result, 1.2 million Americans have seen their checks cut off since June 2, a figure that could rise to 2 million over the next week.
Failure to pass this bill will do more than hurt the unemployed -- it will actually cost jobs. Twenty-four billion dollars in Medicare funding would have helped state legislatures plug their budget gaps. Without it, states like Pennsylvania will have to cut funds for substance abuse and homelessness programs and scale back funding for child welfare by one-quarter, among other steps, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Colorado will likely have to eliminate state aid for full-day kindergarten. In Arizona, funding would be cut for state courts. And in New Mexico, fewer funds will be available for emergency hospital services. An estimated 200,000 jobs could be lost as a result.
Why is the Senate purposely hurting the unemployed -- and dealing another blow to the country's economic renewal? Well, there's the stated reason and then the real reason.
The stated reason is the deficit. As the country's budget gap has grown, Republicans and some centrist Democrats have used the country's growing red ink as an excuse to resist any measure that calls for expanding the deficit.
They argue it would be morally wrong to stick America's grandchildren with a price tag of long-term debt. As Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., put it, "Increasing the deficit and raising taxes is not what Americans are looking for from their elected leaders in Washington."
It's a bit hard to stomach this sort of anti-deficit mantra, particularly when it comes from Republicans who had no such qualms when it came to cutting taxes in 2001, repeatedly voting for Iraq war supplementals or passing a $700 billion package to add prescription drug benefits to Medicare -- with zero offsetting spending cuts.
But the real immorality of Brown's statement -- and much of the current deficit talk -- is that it seems to ignore the plight of actual children today. Indeed, his argument is akin to saying that firefighters should let a house burn to the ground rather than risk wasting water.
The simple fact is that deficit spending is undoubtedly the most effective short-term way to get the country out of its economic slump. Indeed, this is Keynesian economics 101. As we saw with last year's economic stimulus package, which boosted the country's gross domestic product, created more than 2 million jobs and prevented a far worse economic downturn, this sort of approach pays real dividends.
And the best antidote to today's budget deficit is a growing and vibrant economy. This would not only help millions of Americans but the increased tax revenues that come from such strong economic growth would likely shrink the deficit.
The fact that Democrats like Ben Nelson, Independents like Joe Lieberman and other centrists have opposed a further stimulus as well is perhaps more an indication of political expediency than actual ideological belief. But it gives one a sense of how backward America's political discourse has become -- that expanding the deficit is seen as a greater political liability than doing nothing in the face of 9.7 percent unemployment.
Now of course Republicans will always prefer a tax cut to more government spending. But the principle is the same -- pumping money into the economy, even at the price of increasing the deficit, is the right thing to do at times of economic malaise. Unless, of course, the other party is in power and at risk of losing its control of Congress in midterm elections.
And this gets to the likely real reason why Republicans in the Senate are opposing a meager amount of deficit spending to help the unemployed -- they really don't want to see the economy improve.
While I'm sure such a comment will fill my in-box with howls of complaint, it is actually shrewd politics. Americans are angry at the current state of the economy, and they are likely to blame the incumbent party, not the Republicans.
One can look back to the stimulus package of 2009, the health care bill and this rather small bit of economic assistance to see repeated examples of Republican opposition to any government policy that would help those in economic need. Serious GOP alternatives have been few and far between.
Certainly one can't dismiss the role of conservative ideology, but to ignore the political implications of obstruction is to ignore reality. It's perhaps something voters will want to keep in mind come November.
Sorry lib but but democrats are in charge so they get the blame. It's your Keynesian stimulus that failed. Bush is gone.
If McCain or Bush was president this stimulus 2 bill would be signed a long time ago. The simple fact is they would be blamed for everything, instead of Obama.
Libs are amazed that even RINOS blocked this deficit/unemployment/stimulus bill,
Wait till you see them (libs) November after the election .
Boy this writer hit every major democratic talking point and still worked in “it’s for the children”. Our deficit is out of control and we can’t keep borrowing money to fund the big social experiment that fails.I find it unconscionable that people think it is ok to mortgage their grand children’s earnings to the point of wondering if they will be able to feed themselves with this debt.
Goebbels must be very happy that the author of this article is doing his work as he sits in hell.
no manufacturing, no workie
no workie, no money
no money, no taxey for the moocher government to spend
If we cannot defeat the liberal enemy, both democrat AND Republican, we will all be on the streets soon when China throws us out and stops lending back the money it soaked out of us by selling us manufactured goods
“Spend all our children’s future earnings to save them NOW. Have you no compassion?”
“As a result, 1.2 million Americans have seen their checks cut off...”
“The Best way to Get On Your Feet is to Get Off Your Ass.”
There, I used the Bad word.
Liberals can never understand putting a cork in the bottle, they prefer Alcoholics Anonymous at the taxpayers’ expense.
This moron has no idea why Marxism doesn’t work, and is unable to face the fact that overpaid bureaucrats and unions are the problem, along with huge entitlments never designed for 20 years of payouts.
Hey! Here's a thought, why not get a job? Sure, it's probably something you consider far beneath your skills and interests, one that has you working too many hours for too little pay for a boss who is a complete idiot, but you will have a sense of...I don't know...being something other than a slack jawed, glassy eyed, societal non-contributor.
I knew for a fact that the "uninsured" numbers were an over-inflated joke. Now, I want to know about the "unemployed."
How many side jobs done "under the table" for cash are they engaged in? Are they selling drugs/pimping/whatever? Are they even here legally? Inquiring minds want to know...
Yesterday at her weekly press conference, while speaking on unemployment insurance, Pelosi stated that unemployment checks create jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name. at : Pelosi: Unemployment Checks Fastest Way to Create Jobs (video)
Washington, D.C. Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the report that the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in a year and the private sector added 83,000 jobs in June, while the economy lost 125,000 jobs overall: Todays jobs report sends a signal that our economy continues moving forward on the road to recovery, but we still have more work to do. The unemployment rate dropped. The private sector added jobs for the sixth straight month, and private employers have added nearly 600,000 jobs this year. This comes after nearly a decade of failed Republicans policies cost us more than 700,000 jobs per month when President Bush left office. These numbers show our country moving in the right direction, and remind us that we must keep working to create jobs in the private sector, save the jobs of policemen, firemen, teachers and nurses, and strengthen our middle class. “ at Pelosi Statement on June Jobs Report
One more gem: Obama on Unemployment: At Least It's Not 14%... VIDEO
If I was running for election I would avoid the abstract tuitorials (until after the election anyway) and stick with a clear message like "Democrats replace jobs with welfare. People need jobs not a handout and government dependence. Democrats want you to always have your hand out to them needing help from taxpayers. ". This is a message that Rush used over and over in the 1990s. About democrats.
Rand Paul is another one that didnt seem to understand he is in an election.