Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 8, 2009

IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.... Hoping to spur faster growth and take advantage of the summer months, President Obama intends to spend stimulus money at a more aggressive pace in the coming months, with the intention of creating more than 600,000 jobs. Many of the projects were in the pipeline anyway, but will be moved up for greater impact.

On the other hand, we have Republicans and conservative activists, who've decided the economy is moving along just fine, and officials should scrap the economic recovery package altogether.

With the economy showing signs of recovery, fiscally conservative economists and Republican lawmakers are suggesting that the large unspent portion of the nearly $800 billion stimulus fund should be redirected to slash this year's nearly $2 trillion annual deficit.

Democratic lawmakers, Obama administration officials and many economists doubt the wisdom of truncating the stimulus program so soon after it began. But Republican congressmen and economists who were not thrilled with the stimulus effort are increasingly calling for it to be foreshortened as a return to economic growth appears closer at hand. [...]

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, told The Washington Times that he too thinks the recession will be coming to an end within months and he will push to bring the stimulus fund's spending to a halt.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added that he believes "the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own."

And while it's frightening to hear these arguments made, there appears to be very little chance that Republicans will succeed. The administration's ramped up schedule aims to fund thousands of additional jobs in education, law enforcement, and military construction.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added that he believes "the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own."

These kind of idiotic declarations of economic illiteracy deserve a full-court press of derision from Obama surrogates.

The latest unemployment numbers show that we are still losing jobs, just not quite as quickly as we were a few months ago.

This is just another attempt by Republicans to re-direct spending to their priorities -- even more tax cuts for millionaires and for large corporations.

Posted by: SteveT on June 8, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

the republican position: if we sprinkle a little magic fairy dust, 10 million jobs will appear just like that!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 8, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

But, but...Glenn Beck and Fox News say things are getting worse. I'm confused!

Posted by: Conservatroll on June 8, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

New Republican motto: If it's working, stop it!

Thank God none of these clowns became doctors...

Posted by: gradysu on June 8, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Republican lawmakers are suggesting that the large unspent portion of the nearly $800 billion stimulus fund should be redirected to slash this year's nearly $2 trillion annual deficit.

Yeah, let's get rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax fix. And while we're at it, lets let the death tax vacation die this year instead of next. Once these people die, they'll never feel the pain of the taxman reaching into their pockets anyway.

Posted by: Danp on June 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Remember when Roosevelt went the Republicans' way during the depression? Look at that GDP chart again.
It just amazes me how Republicans insist on following policies that have been proven failures.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on June 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

So they are setting up the 2010/12 Republican message for the elections: The economy recovered on its own, it wasn't Obama's policies. This makes sense for them since they have no chance of stopping the stimulus spending (and thereby short-circuiting the recovery), they can grandstand in preperation for claiming the recovery was just the normal workings of the economy, not anything Obama did.

Posted by: Vicki Linton on June 8, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

mitch mitch mitch -- you stupid bugger -- aint nuttin' stickin' to the wall, mate!

your people are gettin' antsy, mitch...
your patrons want something to happen...
yer losin' it, mitch...

but i understand -- so tough to garner power with nobody to scare or anger. it's like all the magic's gone. tsk tsk... eat shit and die.

Posted by: neill on June 8, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God none of these clowns became doctors...

um, one of them did, from Oklahoma no less. Coburn.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on June 8, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Allan: Mercifully, he's not practicing, and former Senator Frist isn't either. And when Coburn was practicing, he was up to his ass in Medicaid fraud.

Posted by: gradysu on June 8, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

As we now have word from some of the foremost economic minds of our day (Jim Cramer / Larry Kudlow / Mitch McConnell / Jim DeMint) that the recession is over and the economy improving, all that is needed as final proof is the golden word of the most qualified economic mind of the last 100 years - Phil Graham.

That another 300,000+ American workers lost their jobs last month is of minimal concern to these bright economic thinkers. Indeed, the loss of American jobs is considered good for Wall Street. More out of work leads to the more subserviance of the remaining workers to their owners.

The only thing that will make life better is to destroy the few remaining unionized jobs and to cut taxes for the owners of our country - the wealthy who create all the jobs.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on June 8, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God none of these clowns became doctors...

You clowns have no idea how either economics or medicine works.

Sometimes the best thing a physician can do for a seriously ill or critically injured patient is leave him alone and give his body a chance to repair itself.

Posted by: Myke K on June 8, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Does Steve Benen get paid to disseminate Right Wing talking points?

Posted by: grinning cat on June 8, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Do I get paid to constantly be an asshole? No, I do not. I do it because I love it. Too bad Steve Benen has nothing he believes in that passionately.

Posted by: dinning cat on June 8, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

"So they are setting up the 2010/12 Republican message for the elections: The economy recovered on its own, it wasn't Obama's policies. This makes sense for them since they have no chance of stopping the stimulus spending (and thereby short-circuiting the recovery), they can grandstand in preperation for claiming the recovery was just the normal workings of the economy, not anything Obama did."

The far right just swept to power all across Europe. You wouldn't know it from reading Washington Monthly because Steve Benen is too busy talking about Sarah Palin's latest trip down the runway. Millions of Americans are out of work with the chances of them getting back to work somewhere between slim and none. It's not hard to imagine the far right/teabag party sweeping elections in 2010 under a crypto white power dog whistle message. Britian just had two officials elected from the British Nationalist Pary which is for whites only.

It's too bad blogs like Washington Monthly can't for some unknown reason educate readers and trumpet their own messages. Instead the salivate at the prospect of activating every negative frame the Right Wing hangs around the liberals and progressives agenda. Rather then ignoring the right wing and further marginalizing them Benen and others continue to march to the drum of the right wing noise machine.

btw/ Moyer's had a decent segment on this last friday.

I can't wait to read what crazy shit Mike Steele, Jim Demint and Sarah Palin are up to today!!

Posted by: grinning cat on June 8, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

So Republicans will boycott a company so that to prevent it from becoming a viable company again. How Typical of Republican thinking. How UNSMERICANand UN-PATRIOTIC of the Republicans. The southern senators are only interested in keping the foreign car makers making money and allow the foreign car makers to expoloit their workers to work for less money and less benefits. The Republicans will continue to gain in wealth. Let's do the Republicans one better, Let's change our economy from oil based to alternative energies, climate change economy.

Posted by: mljohnston on June 8, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I see high school is out for the summer...

"The far right just swept to power all across Europe. You wouldn't know it from reading Washington Monthly because Steve Benen is too busy talking about Sarah Palin's latest trip down the runway."

Define European far right, I would call it American moderate. Plus I thought all the wingers hated European socialistic politics. All of a sudden wingers love European politics, it's beyond funny when you consider their platforms.

Posted by: ScottW on June 8, 2009 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this is like stopping the antibiotics midway through the course of treatment because you're starting to feel better. Sorry, but this wasn't a case of allowing the patient to get better on his own. That's what medicine used to do for heart attacks too, before diagnosis and treatment for coronary blockages became available. The economic version of the stent is the Keynesian approach to economic stimulus, even if some Republicans are still living in the 1920s and haven't become familiar with the new approach.

Posted by: Bob G on June 8, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad blogs like Washington Monthly can't for some unknown reason educate readers and trumpet their own messages.

It's too bad morons such as yourself engage in selective reading of a blog in order to justify your own whining. Also too bad you're too damn stupid to find a blog you like, as opposed to constant whining like a two year-old at an ice cream stand that doesn't have his favorite flavor.
Whine, whine, whine. That's so much more enlightening.

I can't wait to read what crazy shit Mike Steele, Jim Demint and Sarah Palin are up to today!!

Well, if there's going to be some sort of right-wing resurgence in the U.S., who do you think is gonna lead it? Uh-oh, just undermined your own whining.

Posted by: whatever on June 8, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh.

More proof, as if we needed any, that the Right is 100% concerned about capital and 0% concerned about labor. If you define the economy solely in terms of profits and GDP then it doesn't matter much that U-3 is approaching 10% and U-6 is flirting with 20%. If on the other hand you are six weeks from exhausting your Extended Unemployment you kind of hope that $700 billion or so actually soaks up some of that excess labor pool.

It is the Great Depression revisionist history all over again, if you don't count the people the New Deal fed and sheltered and discount the utility of the work they actually performed to zero and only focused on the Dow Industrials then sure you can argue that the new Deal delayed economic exit from the Depression.

But is sure puts a sinister spin on Mellon's call to "liquidate labor, liquidate farming". For these folk small-d democratic utilitarianism doesn't even have a place in their world view, instead labor is just a mass of disposable work units.

Posted by: Bruce Webb on June 8, 2009 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

digby linked to this;

http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3421

So does President Palin start WWIV and begin nuking with impunity also in the spring of 2013 or 2017?

ScottW, attitudes of the public are fickle and millions of unemployed will look for scapegoats and an easy message as to why they are still unemployed after 2 years of Democractic rule.

Rather then spend all day writing and talking about whatever stupid shit comes up of the AEI, the RNC, Morning Joe, WaPo, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the beltway cesspool it might be a good idea to put your own message out and educate your readers.

Posted by: grinning cat on June 8, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Rather "then" spend all day pissing and moaning it might be a good idea to put my own blog out and educate my readers.

Posted by: dinning cat on June 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Rather then spend all day writing and talking about whatever stupid shit comes up of the AEI, the RNC, Morning Joe, WaPo, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the beltway cesspool it might be a good idea to put your own message out and educate your readers.

In the time you've spent every day here whining, you could have already started a blog that addresses what is apparently(in your mind at least) an unmet need amongst progressive blogs.
Why haven't you done so? Oh right, it's easer to whine.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on June 8, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's important to realize that the vast majority of the stimulus funds haven't been spent yet, so while greater wingnuttia and even the mainstream press is acting like the stimulus is already underway, it's just getting started.

Yes, the tax cuts have already started in terms of lower withholding, but most of that effect has yet to come.

Yes, many -- even most -- of the stimulus projects are well underway in terms of the bidding and selection process, the actual spending of funds will mostly happen over the next 12-18 months.

Posted by: Anonny on June 8, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

PLAYBOOK ILLUSION: The Grand Opposition Party is working to establish an expectation, which cannot be realized, and establishes a sense of failure.
By verbalizing the confidence/expectation that the recession will end soon/economy will improve on its own - when economists don't expect that to happen quickly - Obama and the DEMs will then be blamed for failure amidrising national debt, just in time for the midterm elections.

Posted by: Casey on June 8, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

More and more it appears good deal of the Republican's present problems can be attributed to the fact they are just disproportionately dumb and ignorant. It was minority leader Mitch McConnell who said the government should cut back its spending just like individuals and businesses were. What do you call it when government, individuals and businesses all cut back on their spending? Well in 1929 they called it a depression.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on June 8, 2009 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

That would be the same Mitch McConnell whose own home state is facing a $1 billion revenue shortfall - more than 10 percent of the budget.

The only thing that is preventing the wholesale abandonment of essential government services in Kentucky is the federal stimulus dollars coming in to shore up education, Medicaid and transportation.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on June 8, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

What military construction was included in the in stimulus package? None.

Article is way too one sided. He sold this package on how fast he could get it going. So why such a slow roll?

Everyone knew to kick start you had to go hard and fast, but this money wasn't Stimulus money. It was funding what you campaigned on.

He had a choice. Economy or agenda. He chose to blame Bush and fund what he promised, Long term we will all lose, unless we don't work. Then we win.

Posted by: cjg on June 8, 2009 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, everyone beating up on the cat guy? Not everyone who sings a sour note in the Hallelujah Chorus here is a right-winger. It is possible to oppose the stimulus plan from a left wing perspective.

As for why someone doesn't start their own blog if they wish to disagree with some of Mr. Benen's points - it should be obvious, but a person would have more readers here, as a commenter, than at their own new blog. And we all know there is a first-mover advantage to developing blog audiences (otherwise, how did sites like Instapundit, which offer nothing really, become popular?). It's not hard to imagine that there are probably lots of talented unique voices who will never be heard.

Posted by: flubber on June 8, 2009 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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