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February 01, 2011

Gallup: Only 9% of Republicans Favor Increased Stimulus Spending
Did I Say Republicans? I Meant Democrats

Yeah, so, that's not happening per se. Instead Obama will attempt a backdoor non-stimulus by fighting to keep spending at bloated, post-stimulus unsustainable levels.

Two years ago supposed Republican presidential candidate Jay Huntsman said this:

On Obama’s $787 billion stimulus: It’s easy to criticize the bill and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to take the money. It’s pretty simple.

I guess in hindsight we can all say that there were some fundamental flaws with it. It probably wasn’t large enough and, number two, there probably wasn’t enough stimulus effect. For example, a payroll tax exemption or maybe even a cut in the corporate tax…for small and medium-sized businesses for three years, for example.

We will take the money ... The size of about a trillion dollars was floated by Mark Zandi, who’s a very respected economist. I tend to believe what he is saying about the size of the package, which didn’t necessarily hit the mark in terms of size.

Although I think Huntsman is automatically disqualified from serious consideration due to the fact he went to work for Obama (and has a bunch of moderate/liberal positions), I don't think parts of what he's saying are necessarily wrong.

If the stimulus was to work at all, it had to have been bigger. That's not the same as saying it should have been passed, but if you're going to bother trying, do it right. Which Obama didn't.

The second part of his remark is about the fact the stimulus was non-stimulative, just pissing away money on a bunch of dog parks and bike paths with some big money for the states (which didn't stimulate anything; it just went in lieu of additional borrowing). That's conventional conservative economics: If you're going to do a stimulus, um, make sure it stimulates. I myself thought if we're going to spend a trillion, well, spend it where it will do some good: Giving employers a two and half year holiday from paying payroll taxes. (Note: If you're going to spend that much anyhow.)

But on to the definitely wrong stuff:

It does seem like he's talking up the wonders of stimulus.

It's not just in "hindsight" that the "fundamental flaws" of the stimulus are apparent; they were obvious before the monstrosity was passed, and in fact noted over and over again by Republicans. I guess Huntsman, seeker of the Republican nomination, doesn't bother to listen to other Republicans, so things like this sneak up on him, listening only as he does to fabulous economists like Mark Zandi.

Lastly: I love that crack about it being easy-peasy for governors to refuse stimulus money when the citizens of their states have already been burdened by the debt from the stimulus money. That is, the refusenik position is no solution to the fact that the stimulus will burden us for years and years to come; refusing the money only means you take the burden of debt but none of the (trivial) benefit of the money being borrowed.

That's Huntsman's idea of easy-peasy solutions to Obama's backbreaking spending spree. It's "pretty simple," he says, to just not take the money if you don't like the stimulus. Huntsman took the money, so I guess he liked it.

This is the same deal as with Charlie Crist. Both of these guys seemed so damned ready to embrace Hope and Change -- by which we mean European socialism -- that you sense they said Finally! It's safe to admit it! when Obama was elected.

They bet big on Obama. They figured he was the End of History, as it's called, the last step in our evoluton towards a sensible, humane, socialistic politics.

They were wrong.

And in both cases they seek to be rewarded for being so very wrong.

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posted by Ace at 05:26 PM

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