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"I don't expect 100 percent agreement from my Republican colleagues, but I do hope that we can all put politics aside and do the American people's business right now." - Barack Obama, in a meeting with GOP leaders.
"More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's 'lost decade' in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today." --two hundred economists in an open letter disseminated by the Cato Institute
When President Obama says he hopes that "we can all put politics aside", what he really means is that Republicans should put their politics aside in order to implement the Democrats agenda. That's what all that "Republicans shouldn't listen to Rush Limbaugh" nonsense was about too. All the confirmation you need for this is one look at the stimulus package being proposed by Obama and the Democrat Congress. It's a virtual check list of Obama's campaign promises, $825 billion worth, with NONE of it paid for. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin calls it The Generational Theft Act Of 2009, because someday the bill will come due, and future generations will suffer the consequences for today's irresponsibility.
But it's worse than that. President Obama may think more massive, unprecedented government deficit spending is "do[ing] the American people's business", but it isn't (unless America's business is suicide), even if Saint Barack of Hopenchange has convinced many Americans that it is (through fear tactics). I don't know why it's so difficult for some to master one basic and undeniable economic truth - what government spends in the public sector comes directly out of the pocket of the private sector. Those private sector people, that's you, me, and every other American citizen. This forms Obama and the Dems logical fallacy that you can make Americans more prosperous by taking away more of their money, that you can get richer by becoming poorer, that the solution to living beyond your means is to live even further beyond your means. That isn't the road to recovery, it's the road to ruin.
As the 200 economists pointed out at the beginning of this post, such massive government spending has been tried before. It failed then, and it will fail this time too. It turns two year recessions into decade long depressions. That's why the economists say this:
"To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth."
Lowering the burden of government is pretty much the only way back to prosperity. We are so far in the hole already that we can't tax our way to prosperity. It's an impossibility. We can either lower the burden of government or permanently lower our standards of living. You decide. There are no other options.
Even if $825 billion in deficit spending were called for, there would be many better ways to do it that actually WOULD stimulate the economy. Obama's computerized health care and education plans won't stimulate the economy. Neither will resodding the National Mall, providing contraception, or any of the other litany of pork stuffed into this massive boondoggle of a bill. One simple idea would be to give the money directly to the people. That would come out to roughly $2,750 per person, $11,000 for a family of four. That would pump more life into the economy than any twenty Democrat schemes combined. That would stop the foreclosures, stimulate business, pay off credit cards, get money to the banking system, and get things moving again. But the Democrats won't ever do that. Oh no, because then the left-wing agenda wouldn't be imposed, which is really what this economic stimulus bill is all about. As Obama calls on Republicans to abandon their politics, he and the Dems sure won't abandon theirs to "do the American people's business."
The Congressional Budget Office showed that much of Obama's stimulus package won't hit the economy until the end of 2010. Ironically, economists forecast that the economy will turn around on it's own by the end of 2010, without the stimulus. So, why do we need Obama's massive package ? Answer - We don't.
Some relief IS in order. Extending unemployment benefits, tax rebates, renegotiating distressed mortgages, and maybe a few other thingss, those can help people get through this difficult period, but we definitely don't need to spend ourselves into oblivion just to enact all Obama's campaign promises disguised as stimulus. I can hardly think of anything more irresponsible now, and it's completely dishonest on the part of the Democrats. They are trying to convince you that virtually ANY government spending is somehow economic stimulus - from funding the arts to forcing their "green" agenda. I hope you all are a lot smarter than to fall for that. Whether the Dems ideas are good or not is a different matter. Some of them ARE good ideas. We should debate those ideas openly and honestly. But they aren't economic stimulus and shouldn't be passed as such.
This may be the worst bill in American history, a falsely advertised liberal Trojan Horse that will drive the 2009 deficit well over $2 trillion at a time when the country is already mired up to it's neck in debt. We most definitely shouldn't put politics aside for something as insane as that. DO listen to Rush Limbaugh, if that's what it takes, because this bill is TERRIBLE. It's also inflationary and devalues the dollar.
As for the alleged 3 million jobs the stimulus bill will create - even if you do believe that number, which seems plucked right out of the sky - at a price tag of $825 billion, that comes out to $275,000 spent for every job created. Welcome to government inefficiency in action.
And if I remember correctly, our economic crisis was caused by the meltdown of the housing and banking industries. This bill doesn't address any of that, therefore it doesn't address the actual problem. The other $1.4 trillion dollars we spent was supposed to do that. Let it, and drop this enormous new spending package that only drives us closer to destruction.
Hope is fine. Wisdom is better.
Update: Obama's stimulus package passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 244-188. ALL Republicans voted NO.
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