Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Stimulus package “too big”?

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Jon Perr has an excellent post at Crooks & Liars that begins:

As President Obama finally starts to fight for his economic stimulus bill, roadblock Republicans in the Senate continue to decry the price tag. While John Thune (R-SD) described how many times $1 trillion worth of $100 bills would circle the earth, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed “Americans can’t afford a trillion-dollar mistake.” Of course, back in 2001, the GOP had no qualms (along with some invertebrate Democrats) in passing George W. Bush’s much larger $1.4 trillion tax cut package. And as today’s unending sea of red ink and unprecedented upward redistribution of wealth attest, the Republican Party is simply calling for more of the same.

Unlike the 7.6% unemployment rate and $1.2 trillion deficit Barack Obama inherited, George W. Bush arrived at the White House with a federal budget surplus and joblessness at 4.2% – and no mandate. But as every sentient being outside of the mainstream media will recall, Bush promised to slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans, including an end to the estate tax (lovingly rebranded by GOP spinmeisters as the “death tax.”). And despite his loss of the popular vote to Al Gore and facing a 50-50 Senate, President Bush and his team made clear there would be no search for common ground with Democrats in pursuit of the 10-year, $1.6 trillion package. As Vice President Dick Cheney put it on December 17, 2000:

“As President-elect Bush has made very clear, he ran on a particular platform that was very carefully developed. It’s his program, it’s his agenda, and we have no intention at all of backing off of it. It’s why we got elected.

So we’re going to aggressively pursue tax changes, tax reform, tax cuts, because it’s important to do so. […] The suggestion that somehow, because this was a close election, we should fundamentally change our beliefs, I just think is silly.”

For his part, Bush presented the tax cuts as the cure for whatever might ail the economy, both a tasty dessert topping and a floor polish.

Later proclaiming the tax cuts “vital” for economic growth, at first President Bush announced they were essential for emptying the flush treasury (and not a recession) he had inherited from Bill Clinton:

“‘The surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money. And I’m here to ask you to join me in making that case to any federal official you can find.”

And listen they did. In Congress, the Republican leadership insisted the Bush tax cut package proceed as designed, a point echoed by the White House. As the New York Times recounted on January 23, 2001: …

Continue reading.  And note this from a similar post at ThinkProgress:

If you compare the condition of the economy in 2001 to the current state of the economy, the numbers show that those who now call the recovery package too big, were willing to spend far more when the economic situation wasn’t nearly as precarious:

2001 2009
Cost of package: $1.35 trillion $900 billion
Unemployment: 4% 7.6%
Percent of Population Living In Poverty: 12.7% 17%
Foreclosure Rates: .48% 1.19%
Americans Relying On Food Stamps: 17 million Over 30 million

Written by Leisureguy

7 February 2009 at 11:04 am

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