The Analytic Atavar

Idiosyncratic Musings of a Retrograde Technophile

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Pied Piper Cometh


Time for the GOP to Get Out of the Way - They cannot lead, and they should not follow, Mark Impomeni, Redstate.com, Thursday, January 8, 2009, 11:00AM EST

With yesterday’s announcement from the Congressional Budget Office that the fiscal year 2009 federal budget deficit is projected to be $1.2 trillion dollars, Republicans in the House and Senate should realize that the time has come for them to pull their support for any economic stimulus package proposed by the incoming Obama Administration. The CBO’s budget numbers don’t include the as yet unseen stimulus bill, which is rumored to carry a price tag of anywhere between $600 billion and $1.2 trillion on its own. By this time next year, the government could be carrying a balance sheet that is as much as $2.5 trillion in the red. As the once and future party of fiscal responsibility, Republicans should not want to be anywhere near those numbers.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner were making conciliatory noises on Monday after President-elect Obama went to Capitol Hill to lobby for his stimulus bill. Obama said that the deal would include $300 billion in “tax cuts” with which he hoped to buy Republican support. …
    But more than their support for passage, which he does not need, Obama was attempting to buy political cover from Republicans, which he wants. Obama wants to insulate hmself from blame when the post election afterglow fades away, his stimulus plan inevitably fails, and the American people get stuck with the bills. McConnell and Boehner doubtlessly know this; but they lack the political courage to stand athwart the new Administration and yell “Stop!” If they want to rebuild the Republican Party’s image as the party of fiscal restraint, however, that is exactly what they must do.
    Right now, Republicans generally are operating on the theory that they must appear to be working with President Obama to avoid the wrath of the voters, who elected Obama to change Washington. The hope is that in being nice to Obama, Republicans will share in some of the credit for his initiatives, and win back the trust of the voters. The problem is that Republicans have played this game before, and it never ends up the way they hope. … That is why Republicans should walk away from the proposed economic stimulus completely.
    If they do, they will catch criticism in the short term for their lack of “caring” and their “obstructionism.” But the fact is that the Democrats don’t need a single Republican vote to pass the stimulus. So let them do it on their own. The Senate should not filibuster, but not one Republican should vote for the deal. Only in this way will Republicans be properly positioned when the stimulus fails. Of course, the risk is that the stimulus will not fail, and Republicans will not have had a hand in crafting it. But that is not really much of a risk at all. As the minority party, Republicans will not receive any credit for a successful turnaround in the economy.
    Since Republicans cannot lead on the stimulus, they should not follow. It’s time to get out of the way. Let Obama and the Democrats be responsible for the results of the massive increases in government spending their plan envisions; and don’t sell out principles just to stand in Obama’s aura.
So the new age of economic insanity begins. Mr. Impomeni is correct in his criticism. The Republicans should learn from the failure of the McVain campaign and do what he should have done to win the election — take a lesson from Bill Clinton and triangulate, running against both the administration and the unpopular Congress. Instead McVain ran opposing earmarks and pork-barrel spending, only to rush back to Washington to help pass a $850 Billion 'bailout', stepping all over his message. The Republicans should not allow themselves to be seduced by any supposed 'tax cuts' — under The One's stimulus plan they are actually tax write-offs for already failing companies and welfare payments to the poor, none of which has any real economic stimulus value.

Nor should they worry about any short term negative portrayals. Only by opposing this from the very beginning can they establish their credibility in 2010 when the stimulus has failed to solve the recession. For fail it must. The laws of economics are simple and ironclad, and the election of The One has not miraculously repealed them. Government does not produce anything. Every dollar it spends comes at the cost of much more than a dollar taken from the economy or the credit markets, only exacerbating the problems. This experiment has been run many times in the past, and has always failed. It prolonged the Great Depression from 1932 to 1941. It led to the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union. It is seen in operation today in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba. The most recent experiment was this summer — if such stimuli were effective, how is it that with the $850 Billion 'bailout' the recession has only gotten worse?

It is time for the Republican Party to stand on principle, for they have little else. They should oppose all this economic insanity and refuse to give the Democrats any bipartisan cover for their fiscally irresponsible, statist programs. Any RINO who supports the Democratic programs should be declared persona non grata and not receive any future support from the Party. They need to give the voters a clear choice rather than some Democrat-lite. In my cynical mood, I doubt they have the spine for these tactics.

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