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Top Headline Comments 02-09-09 | Main | The Real Reason Specter Betrayed-- Gallup Puts Public Approval of Obama's Handling of Spendulus 36 Points Higher Than Congressional Republicans'
February 09, 2009

Arlen Specter Tries to Explain His Betrayal, Fails

Specter in the Washington Post:

I am supporting the economic stimulus package for one simple reason: The country cannot afford not to take action.

The unemployment figures announced Friday, the latest earnings reports and the continuing crisis in banking make it clear that failure to act will leave the United States facing a far deeper crisis in three or six months. By then the cost of action will be much greater -- or it may be too late.

Like TARP advocates, Specter simply takes it on faith that the federal government must do something or it Will Be the End of the World as We Know It. Of course, try as he might, the evidence points the other way. For example, the CBO thinks that even without a spendulus package, the recession will be over by the end of the year (PDF).

Wave after wave of bad economic news has created its own psychology of fear and lowered expectations. As in the old Movietone News, the eyes and ears of the world are upon the United States. Failure to act would be devastating not just for Wall Street and Main Street but for much of the rest of the world, which is looking to our country for leadership in this crisis.

It's not just bad news. It's bad press. This is the most highly anticipated recession in history, with cheerleaders from roughly half the political spectrum. President Bush, Secretary Paulson, President Obama, and many in Congress have spent the last five months telling the country and the world that we stand on the brink of a Second Great Depression. Did they think that their continuous fear-mongering wouldn't greatly influence the economy, and not for the better?

When the president, who unfortunately wears the Economist-in-Chief hat, tells you to start putting your money in mason jars rather than banks, or that you shouldn't buy that house this year, or that there are no jobs to be found, he has, in great part, created a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is good for him, since he now has something to do and something to pat himself on the back for. But it's not so good for the economy.

Our $780 billion bill would save or create up to 4 million jobs, helping to offset the loss of 3.6 million jobs since December 2007. The bill cuts some $110 billion from the $890 billion Senate version, which would actually be $940 billion if floor amendments for tax credits on home and car purchases and money for the National Institutes of Health are retained.

Specter wants to be thanked for saddling us with slightly less debt than desired by his colleagues. Thanks, Senator, for nothing. You could have stuck with Republicans and left us much better off.

Your bill spends $195,000 for every job saved (I will charitably assume that your numbers are correct). What a waste of money. How out of touch do you have to be to think that spending $195,000 on a job is a good idea? Much better alternatives have been proposed to stimulate the economy, like a one-year payroll tax holiday. I understand, Senator, that the problem with alternatives is that they would make money available to taxpayers, rather than Congressfolk, something that you do not want.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the proposed cuts "do violence to what we are trying to do for the future," especially on education. Her objections are a warning to conservatives that more cuts would be unlikely to win House approval. They are also an admission of the high price that moderates have been able to extract for their support of stimulus legislation.

More self-congratulation. Color me unimpressed with anyone trying to win House approval of the spendulus. You are a fool, Senator, and you are doing violence to my future. Particularly the part where I and the rest of the taxpayers have to pay for your mistakes (literally). I don't thank you for that. Not at all.

If a stimulus bill doesn't pass, there won't be any money for Title I education programs. The moderates' bill provides marginally less money for Title I than the House and Senate bills. But while it's less than supporters want, this proverbial half a loaf beats no loaf by a mile.

He means, there won't be any more money for Title I, which will be funded this year just like every year. There's no requirement that we do that in the spendulus. Is Specter really so stupid that he thinks we don't know the difference? The man is an embarrassment and his explanation is an insult.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:53 AM

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