Friday, February 6, 2009

Here They Go Again

Watching the debate in the Senate about the economic stimulus and the Republicans nitpicking I was reminded of old Ronnie Raygun: "There you go again!" The Republicans (who got us into this mess with their deregulation and free market nonsense) are trotting out their same old arguments against government intervention as though it were 1994. They want less government, less taxes but more debt. Their big gripe with Obama's stimulus package seems to be that their friends are not getting a big enough piece of the pie. It's as though the last two election cycles were decided in their favor. Jeez, they lost both Houses of Congress and the White House. That should tell them that people aren't buying their lines of BS anymore.

But there they are, on the Senate floor, making impassioned pleas for more taxcuts for the rich. Making the Herbert Hoover pitch that "the business of America is business." That didn't make sense in the '30's and it's making even less sense now.
Senator Thune was trotting out graphs of $100 dollar bills and how high they'd reach if you stacked them end on end or how many times they'd circle the globe if you sewed them together. Shades of Ross Perot! That's all fine and dandy but what does it contribute to trying to resolve the problem? Nothing! It's a distraction and that seems to be the only card the Republicans have left to play. Mitch McConnell was on the Sunday morning talk shows complaining that there was money in the package that would benefit condom makers. Actually there is money that is targetted at stemming the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. I don't know why the Democrats don't pick up on this and point out that apparently the Republicans are in favor of the clap, crabs & chlamydia. Maybe that would shut them up.

I think it's time for the Democrats to quit being doormats with these bogus arguments foisted by the Republicans. Expose their arguments for the red herrings that they are. Show the public that once again, lacking ideas, the Republicans choose to throw mud.

The Republicans have an opportunity here to regain some of the luster that they have lost in the last couple of elections. They could come up with some realistic solutions to the problems we face. They could offer meaningful alternatives that would contribute to the national discourse. The Republicans could rise to the occasion. I wish they would. It's past time for the Republicans to abandon the failed policies of Reagan, Rove & Norquist. Now is the time for them to stand up and make their case with the American people that they want to be a part of the solution. They need to show that they are the "loyal opposition" not just a bunch of nit-picking naysayers.

A friend of mine has come up with a unique idea to raise money: tax any transaction on Wall Street at the rate of one percent. Let the players pay. That seems fair and it is a relatively painless way to boost revenues. Much better than constantly shifting the burden to the little guy. I forget how many millions or billions of dollars my friend projected that this would make but it was substantial. I'm in favor of anything that puts the onus on the people who got us into this mess in the first place. Why should the public be footing the bill for private losses? These clowns sure didn't share their profits with us. Hell, they tried to pay as little as possible to the federal government. Now they want to maximize their gains by getting bailouts.

I have a sneaking suspicion that because of all the media hype we are starting to be held hostage by the banks and major corporations of this country. They saw how much money the banks got in the first bailout and they don't want to be left out. So what do they do? They start laying people off and the media leads off every newscast with how many thousands have lost their jobs on that particular day. It's like some perverted law of supply and demand. These companies, by laying off their employees, are creating a demand for monies from any bailout package that is going to be enacted. Why wouldn't they? The government is going to be handing out money and if they can make their industries look like they need an in fusion of cash, they stand to gain billions. What's it going to cost them? Little or nothing. And they'll look like heroes when they re-hire the people they let go. Once the government starts throwing free cash around it becomes like a feeding frenzy of sharks. These banks and businesses can smell free money from miles away. Look at all of the lobbyists circling the halls of Congress. It's not only the usual suspects but now they are having lobbyists from foreign countries honing in on the governments largesse. I can almost hear Pete Seeger singing: "The rich man gets the elevator and the poor man gets the shaft..."

What I'd really like to see is someone explain in detail the necessity of any kind of bailout, TARP or economic stimulus. It just seems like a lot of hype. A media created frenzy. I don't understand how going into more debt is going to get us out of trouble. Trouble that was created by going into debt in the first place.

Two people to keep an eye on in the Obama administration are Elizabeth Warren and Chris Orzacg(sp?)....They seem to have a good grasp of the problem. I wish they would have them on the Sunday talk shows to educate the rest of us.

Well that's my thoughts for today. Thanks for stopping by.

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