Thursday, February 07, 2008

No-Cojones Congress

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (P-Calif.) perpetuates the myth that women are terrible at math: she can't count noses in the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a comfortable -- let's spell it -- m-a-j-o-r-i-t-y. That's why she handed Sen. Harry Reid (P-Nev.) a "stimulus" bill that smelled like three-day-old fish left in the sun because it does nothing for the unemployed, who could do the most for the economy.

The "P" in the identification tags is not a mistake: it stands for Pseudo-Democrats. As in showing every sign of being outside what one presidential candidate called "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." That's the wing that puts workers and general well-being first.

Pelosi blew it by inexplicably failing to stop the House Republicans, who are in the minority (Nancy, check the House roll, will ya?), from constructing a monstruosity of a tax-rebate and business tax-cut bill. Reid failed by caving in and accepting Pelosi's stupid done deal with only a token gesture for the elderly and veterans.

Bad policy and terrible politics. This legislative work lacks what in very colloquial Spanish is called cojones (balls).

In the face of a recession, the most stimulative disbursements would be in the form of money going to people with the least disposable income -- that is, people for whom a dollar in hand is a means to fulfilling an immediate need by spending the dough. These are the folks most likely to generate consumer demand and boost the economy.

Giving money to wealthier people risks having the funds go into savings or investments with little or no demand effect at all.

An early appraisal of the principles for an economic stimulus, prepared before Pelosi even had a bill to deal with, two major economic analysts were cited as specifically locating the highest stimulative effect in expenditures such as unemployment compensation and food stamps.

Economist Mark Zandi is quoted as demonstrating that for every dollar spent in the form of unemployment checks, the economy receives an economic consumer demand boost of $1.73. In contrast, the Republicans' much-vaunted increase in tax breaks for small business investment would yield only 25¢.

The Republicans, along with Pelosi and Reid, chose a 25¢ stimulus over a $1.73 boost. Oh, yes, and a lot of pandering in an election year to folks to whom $300 won't mean very much. Certainly not more than it did in early 2001. Remember the Bush rebate (and the recession that followed it)?

One might accept that Reid, who was blocked by a single vote in a very tightly divided Senate couldn't do otherwise. But what's Pelosi's excuse? Democrats have a comfortable, if not veto-proof, majority in the House. Doesn't Pelosi know that when you have a majority you can get things you want done?

What do I hear? Bush would have vetoed help for the neediest citizens that would help all of us the most? I would have replied "Make our day, Georgie! Let's make sure every American hears that the leader of the Republican Party would rather give money to the richest taxpayers than fight recession by aiding those who will spend the cash assistance."

Now Bush can say that the Dems are in the pockets of the rich just about as much as the Repubs.

And the unemployed? The poor? They don't count to either one.

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