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If not $900 billion, how much “stimulus” is about right?

1 February 2009

The current thinking?  The Senate seems likely to cut the stimulus bill when full floor debate begins on Monday.  But it raises the question:  what is the basis for objecting to $900 billion?  How much “stimulus” is about right?  What if the bottom line were $850 billion?  $795 billion?  At what point do the Ben Nelsons and the Kent Conrads (and the Mitch McConnells) finally say, OK, that’s about right?  And on what basis?

Here’s the thing.  To the extent there is opposition to the bill in the Senate, it doesn’t sound principled; it sounds arbitrary, ad hoc.  Gut feelings, impressions, an indescribable sense.  Why can we not count on our politicians to mount principled defenses of and opposition to various components?  Where are the senators who will finally bite the bullet and say that it’s not so much a matter of the bottom line – a few billion here or there makes little difference – as it is the flawed, constitutional reasoning.

BTW, we now have two Cabinet nominees, one already confirmed (Geithner) and one on the way (Daschle), with a history of tax “errors” that have had to be corrected now that they are being vetted.  (Penalties?  Don’t hold your breath.)  These guys are at least somewhat above the law, and we are to believe that we have to have these guys because they are the only ones with the expertise to lead us through the current mess.

The only ones?

Just as, one supposes, Obama is the “only” politician with the leadership skills to get the job done.

It’s all nonsense.  We have plenty of people with the skills to get us through.  If Geithner was so much brighter than the rest of us, why couldn’t he figure out his own tax liability?  And Daschle, too?

This messiah complex we’ve got is embarrassing, and it’s un-American.

qb

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One Comment leave one →
  1. s.morales permalink
    1 February 2009 6:02 pm

    Details, details. I think you are so right but I still don’t agree. The “messiah” is definitely not the only one who can save us. Especially when one considers that the Government and the Fed are following the age old script of spending and quant easing etc. etc. Loved Krugman’s face when Charlie Rose asked him how he got to so many “interesting” conclusions, and Krugman answered as reason no. 3 was something to the effect of “Well, its kind of what we’ve always done”. So changing the puppet button pushers shouldn’t be a problem. What Obama has done that perhaps no one could do right now is change the national group think on so many fronts. Plato would be proud of the philosopher leader. It’s always been that too few run for office, that has changed. s.morales

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