If I were to bang my head on a brick wall over and over, i’d quickly come to the conclusion that it hurts, and that I probably shouldn’t spend my time banging my head against that wall any more. If I were to try to solve the pain, by continuing to bang my head on the brick wall, i’d soon be wondering what made me think that continuing to bang my head, would help.
John McCain complained recently that President Obama had failed in his attempts to create a bipartisan atmosphere with regards to the “OMG SOCIALISM ARGH!!!” stimulus package that has recently been passed through Congress. Now, I accept that McCain himself is a great hero of bipartisan Politics (regardless of the fact that he thinks President Bush was right, 95% of the time), on such topics as Global Warming and Campaign finance, McCain has reached across the isle, and that is indeed admirable. But I do go the feeling that a long with 90% of Republican Bloggers I come across day to day on WordPress, he’s horribly bitter.
I’m perfectly aware that the Plan has many social elements within it, that Republicans deem “pork“, regardless of who it helps. But that’s what Republicans must have expected from Democrats. Similarly, they got their $275bn tax relief and cannot legitimately yell “Socialism” when the Stimulus offers Businesses, the bonus depreciation feature exists, when tax credits for struggling small businesses exist, when there is double in what small businesses can write off when it comes to capital investments and new equipment purchases.
I refuse to call $41bn for grants to local school districts; $39bn to subsidise health insurance for the unemployed; $4bn in prevention care; $31bn to upgrade and repair public buildings – “pork”. But obviously anything that doesn’t amount to a mass of tax cuts for the rich, is going to demand the calls of “SOCIALISM” from the opposition.
I’m unaware of how much Fidel Castro would have been willing to accept as truly Socialist with this package. Perhaps he’d have welcomed cash for money-losing companies by allowing them to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two, or the bonus depreciation for Businesses buying up new equipment, for a tax credit for businesses who hire disconnected youths and veterans.
In an attempt for me to appear a little bit bipartisan here, I will accept that $650million to convert TV boxes to digital seems a little odd. Although a worthy cause, like $15bn for College Scholarships is a worthy cause, it’s unlikely to stimulate the short term economic woes of a Nation on the brink of economic disaster. This is certainly just a way for those like Pelosi to sneak into the stimulus, those niggling partisan leftovers. However, if the money given for College Scholarships, goes to the right place, meaning the Colleges now how money that they were losing, meaning they don’t have to lay off staff, then it can only be a good thing, regardless of the motive for it appearing in the bill. Investing in infrastructure is also, not ‘pork’.
The word ‘pork’ is interesting, when it seems to only apply to investing in infrastructure, and not to the trillions spent on the deaths of thousands of American troops and 1,000,000 innocent Iraqis. That’s deemed ok. But key infrastructure, PORK apparently.
I am more inclined to accept the Obama Stimulus as completely necessary, than I am to accept the argument that it’s full of “pork”. A stimulus is supposed to be full of so-called “pork” because it works. FDR’s worked. The ‘pork’ is not just words on paper. For example, I recently say Fox News state that “$10 million for urban canal inspection is pork spending”…. not it isn’t. It’s a plan to create jobs, and it will indeed, create jobs. That’s how a stimulus works.
Back to McCain. He told CNN recently that this wasn’t the change Obama promised. That, although Obama went to Capitol hill for input, most of what the Republicans offered was just wiped off the table.
What he appears to mean is, Obama must give in to Republican demands, otherwise they will just act as a roadblock regardless of the proposals.
I am not saying the Democrats and Obama have this sorted out perfectly, nor am I saying that the Stimulus will definitely work. But for the Republicans to publicly state how much of a failure it is before it had even taken shape, is nothing but tit for tat partisan bullshit from the Right Wing of the Political spectrum. Especially considering they have full support for a party that has systematically destroyed the economy, and waged an unjust expensive war over the past eight years. It’s a bit rich of them to be taking the high ground now. It’s as if they’ve been asleep for eight years, woke up on January 20th, and yelled “WE HAVE THE ANSWERS NOW!!“…. forgive me for not falling for it. Forgive me for thinking that the useless Bush tax cuts that were not utilised for the best of the Economy by those rich businessmen who shipped work overseas; those tax cuts that McCain supported, were nothing short of an absolute disaster and highlighted the failure of American Capitalism. Forgive me for thinking that Republicans calling it “robbing future generations” is a despicable charge, given that they had no problem spending taxpayers money bailing out Wall Street, and then had no problem robbing American families of the lives of their children, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers in the first “Resource War” in Iraq.
I would give a lot of credit, to a Republican who would happily admit that their policies may have failed them, these past eight years. I cannot wait to see that day. I compare the Republican
bitterness outrage at this stimulus bill, with the lack of outrage at the Bush stimulus package, the largely useless Bush stimulus package. It’s incredible how little the Republicans are consistent in their hatred of stimulus packages. Spending trillions on an unjust war, and then wasting trillions on big business tax cuts has caused this mess. It’s a failure. And McCain thinks he has a right to suggest otherwise?
The Republican Party seriously needs to change it’s attitude.
When the CBO report shows that Clinton left office with a “budget surplus projected to be $5.6trillion over ten years” compared to the Bush administration leaving office with a “projected deficit of well over $4trillion for that same period“, you have to really start asking if these people should be given the chance to talk at all. The damning report from the CBO continues…“As a result of their misguided fiscal choices,
President Bush and Republican Congresses squandered the budget opportunities they inherited and are passing along historically large budget deficits that will persist for years.” So the question needs to be answered, why do you Republicans suddenly think you deserve to be heard now?
I’m sure the spirit of bipartisanship is needed to a degree, and like John McCain, i’m sure Obama has attempted it. But it has to be taken with so much caution, and it has to be taken knowing just how damaging the Republicans have been since 2001. Take on board suggestions that both Republicans and Democrats agree on. Do not listen to calls for mass tax breaks for the rich, because that is not the way to solve every problem (as we’ve now discovered). The caution has to be taken. Obama is doing the right thing by not giving into these people.
Bipartisanship has to come from both sides. Republicans have to acknowledge their dire failings in order to even gain an ounce of credibility, they have to say “Ok, we messed up, we’re ready to have a rethink“, any short of that, and they just should not be taken seriously.
Perhaps the Republicans are frustrated because they have no control anymore. Perhaps they are all more like Limbaugh than we all think and that they want Obama to fail, because if this stimulus succeeds in pulling America out from the pit of Republican destruction, it will only serve to make the Republicans look a hundred times worse than they do right now.
Given that the majority of Americans who read my blog are Republicans, I fear i’m in for a bit of a beating because of this. I will try and survive. Clearly they do not feature in the 67% approval rating for the way he handled the passing of the Stimulus bill. Instead, they must appear in the laughable 31% that approve of the Republicans in Congress as opposed to the 48% who approve of the Democrats in Congress. They certainly don’t figure in the 68% who approve of the job Obama has done up until now. But you know, what do those 68% know anyway!!!!
If America had wanted much more failed Republican policies, policies that had created this mess in the first place, policies that had resulted in record unemployment, a highly costly illegal war, and tax cuts for the rich who then squander away their even greater wealth, then McCain would now be President. America chose not to keep banging it’s head against the brick wall.