Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Will the stimulus package be a pork fest?

by Bruce Webb
reader Buffpilot in comments insists the answer is clearly yes on the grounds
The Dems, have NEVER, shown fiscal responsibility when in charge of the purse strings (or at least since before LBJ). So you have zero track record to back you up on thinking that the Dems will suddenly cut back government expenditures and raise taxes to at least get close to balancing the budget. Can you imagine the Dems actually cutting the size of the Federal governemnt? Or reducing its power? Neither do I. BTW the Rs have not been any better.
Well the historical record tells us something different. If we examine Total Debt as a percentage of GDP it went down or stayed even under every post-war President not named Reagan or Bush. We were able to fund the post-war GI bill, the Marshall Plan, Korea, the Great Society, Vietnam, navigate the first Oil Shock all of it except for two years with a Democratically controlled house. And came through the whole thing with debt as a percentage of GDP bottoming out in 1980. I am afraid the old narrative of Democrats as the party of tax and spend policy leading to ever increasing deficts while Republicans being the party of fiscal responsibility has really not been the case since Eisenhower left office. Instead the whole concept of Small Government has since 1964 and the birth of the Modern Republican Party meant "don't spend tax money on undeserving poor people".


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a pork fest and the losers will be retirees, the disabled, widows and orphans.

Therefore, would like to see you post more info re:

From "Obama, Congress seek deal on economic stimulus," by Richard Cowan Richard Cowan – Thu Jan 29, 6:33 pm ET: Obama says he wants to work with Republicans not only as he promotes the stimulus package but looks ahead to other major initiatives, such as expanding health care, stemming global warming and revamping the Social Security retirement program.

Bruce Webb said...

House Republicans seem intent on pissing in the soup and are at grave danger of marginalizing themselves altogether. At this moment there is exactly no payoff for Obama to actually incorporate their thinking on anything whatsoever.

And if the current rumor actually comes to be and Judd Gregg takes the Commerce job the Democrats are one Minnesota court decision from having a filibuster proof majority. At which time the Republicans as a whole will have too choices: follow or get out of the way. Because they pissed away their chance to lead when they decided to chose party over country on the stimulus package.

Plus maybe you could explain why this package which has a bump for SS recipients and billions in assistance to the states for Medicaid is going to make widows and orphans losers. Because the biggest threat to future retirees, disabled people, widows and orphans is the prospect of Republicans getting their hands on Social Security. A few hundred billions spent on public goods is not going to hurt anything because if anything it still leaves us underinvested in public infrastructure.