Sunday, February 8, 2009

May all your depressions be great

There are certain people you don't want to hear say certain things. For instance; George Bush announcing his return to government, Kevin Colbert announcing the resigning of Willie Colon to a five year deal, or an official spokesman for the CDC muttering something about flesh eating, unstoppable, and 99.9% fatality rate. Another is Paul Krugman saying "This is really, really bad" about something related to the economy. But in his blog post, entitled 'What the centrists have wrought', he does just that.
The short answer: to appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts.

According to the CBO’s estimates, we’re facing an output shortfall of almost 14% of GDP over the next two years, or around $2 trillion. Others, such as Goldman Sachs, are even more pessimistic. So the original $800 billion plan was too small, especially because a substantial share consisted of tax cuts that probably would have added little to demand. The plan should have been at least 50% larger.

Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.

My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.

The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.
Clap your hands for your elected betters. In order to get three measly votes from Republicans, Democrats (led by Ben Nelson and Claire McCaskill) picked an arbitrary dollar amount to be kicked out of the bill to make it look more centrist and like 'they were doing something' and ending up cutting the most effective parts of the bill and increasing the least effective parts of the bill. But hey, everything looks 'centrist' so our media will clap and applaud that 'something got done', that because people on the left are angry everything was a bipartisan success, and cluck about how the plan was too expensive and laden with silly things like stuff that creates jobs and aids states. Mission accomplished.

Well at least there's still the reconciliation portion of this process where hopefully House and Senate appointed negotiators will be able to hash out a better form of the bill from the two disparate versions. Wait, I can't actually believe I typed that. Choosing the superior House version or accepting most of its provisions will never happen, particularly because it is a smart idea and better plan. The Senate: where useful ideas and helpful plans go to die a thousand horrible deaths. If you see a Senator, feel free to punch him/her in the face, they will have deserved it. Also give a big thumbs up to Barry, his constant proclamations about bipartisanship and introducing a bill that already ceded important ground in the name of bipartisanship instead of writing a proper bill in the first place helped grease the skids for this. All it netted him was 3 votes. Slow golf clap everyone.

But hey, who needs something like 600,000 more jobs? We have centrism and bipartisanship.

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