Firefighter vs Arsonist

Saturday, August 13th, 2011 @ 7:52 pm | Politics

For its modest size, the stimulus was a success, every dollar multiplying by four.

1. The economy is still basically functioning, which wasn’t guaranteed before the stimulus. Unemployment numbers are way too high, hard-working people are being given the shaft, law students can’t get a job, yes, but for the overwhelming majority of Americans life hasn’t really changed all that much (the stimulus and unemployment benefits have helped soften the rocks at the bottom of the valley). We should absolutely be doing better, and economy-sabotaging Republican politicians certainly haven’t helped. But consider just how far things really can fall, and what that chart suggests continued decline would have been. Life in America would not be recognizable. That’s the world Republicans want you to live in, so you’ll stop being such a lazy sissypants and work harder. Important concession here:

Of course, this whole analysis depends on the assumption that without the stimulus, the economy would have continued to decline at the same rate. We don’t know that for a fact, and that has always been the obvious weakness in Holtz-Eakin’s approach. It’s possible that the economic collapse could have slowed down all on its own. But it is also possible that the decline could have accelerated rapidly into a second Great Depression.

Do you ever see Republicans really grilled about the alternative world they propose? The world where John McCain repealed TARP and Sarah Palin rallied America to put its nose to the grindstone and drill offshore? They have the advantage of sitting back and sniping (and making things up constantly), but they aren’t passive players in American government, and we saw with the attempted forced default of the United States by the Tea (Republican) Party that they are quite willing to unleash that world on us, even now. It seems to one that they really are advocating a Depression to sort out What’s Wrong with America.

2. There’s a simple theory about government spending that those on the right, including the Tea Party, accept without question when it relates to our military: Unlike communism, the government is doing little more than engaging in business with the public. The government hires people to do a job most of us generally agree should be done (deliver mail, build roads, repair bridges, maintain a solid and sensible defense force). To the average American, a job is a job. Republican politicians earn their paychecks, which they then use to pay for their lovely homes and nice suits, and those dollars get put into the private market just as fast as if they came from a private employer. Are Republicans who pour concrete supposed to turn down government sidewalk contracts?

The question answers itself.

Look at the graph again. Where would you rather be in the 4th quarter of 2009, at the top of it or the bottom?

Unfortunately, as Gregory Mankiw accidentally admitted, that stimulus is about used up, and the two lines are going to start moving closer together. And while Obama would love nothing more than to roll out some Bill Clinton-style job programs that provide numerous jolts to the economy, it’s become accepted knowledge that the Republicans will not allow a jobs bill through that costs a penny. Ask yourself another no-brainer: Is Obama president, or dictator? If you answer president, then you also probably know we have three branches of government. Republicans, only controlling the House, have openly demonstrated their willingness and power to bring the country to its knees through unprecedented Congressional stunts and inaction.

It’s a simple lesson, America. If you want Obama to do something good for the country (like saving GM, preventing another economic catastrophe), then you’ve got to give him the foot soldiers. And if there’s anything we should have learned from the past three years, it’s that not only should the Republicans not be trusted with the House, but they don’t even deserve 40 in the Senate (although expect single-Senator holds to skyrocket when Republicans have no other procedural tricks).

Until then, people who wonder why the economy isn’t getting better faster should probably stop acting so confused.

Who are you voting for in 2012? The firefighter or the arsonist?


3 Responses to “Firefighter vs Arsonist”

  1. Twitted by IowaBlogs Says:

    […] This post was Twitted by IowaBlogs […]

  2. Iowa Liberal » Blog Archive » Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes? Says:

    […] Reality says the recession Bush handed off to Obama was worse than predicted, but that the stimulus still shaved a couple points off of unemployment and contributed greatly to growth and GDP. […]

  3. Iowa Liberal » Blog Archive » The Republicans are not a default party, they’re the Party of Default. Says:

    […] And yet they inevitably shift the goalposts and argue sure, but Democrats PRETTY MUCH got what they wanted and IT WAS SO MUCH. Once again, the stimulus was one-third tax cuts, and had a 4x multiplier I cited earlier. […]