Republicans Going All In On Stimulus Opposition

Republicans Going All In On Stimulus Opposition


The way some Republicans are talking, Obama’s plan will destroy our very way of life.

Do they really think it’s smart to put such an extreme message out there?

From CNN:

Leading Republicans warned Sunday that the Obama administration’s $800 billion-plus economic stimulus effort will lead to what one called a “financial disaster.”

“Everybody on the street in America understands that,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. “This is not the right road to go. We’ll pay dearly.”

Shelby, of Alabama, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the package and efforts to shore up the struggling banking system will put the United States on “a road to financial disaster.”

But it’s not just Shelby. McCain is getting in on the gloom and doom as well…

“We need to spend money on infrastructure and on other programs that will immediately put people to work. But this is not it,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, last year’s GOP presidential nominee.

Senators reached a tentative agreement Friday on a compromise bill largely negotiated by a handful of moderate Republicans whose votes are needed to prevent a filibuster. But McCain told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the package should have been about half the size of the one now before senators, and should be balanced between tax cuts and spending.

“We’re going to amass the largest debt in the history of this country, by any measurement, and we’re going to ask our kids and grandkids to pay for it,” he said.

Newsflash…our kids and grandkids are already paying for the failed policies of the Bush administration right now. And virtually nobody I’m reading is happy that we have to put together such a massive stimulus bill to address the current crisis, but if we don’t do something to get people working and instill confidence in the system, more businesses will fail and more people will lose their jobs and guess who they’ll have to rely on at that point?

So here’s my question: what economic indicators will Republicans be pointing to in 2010 and beyond to demonstrate that Obama has wrecked the economy? Because that seems to be really the only thing they’ll be able to run on.

And if this recession continues for a couple more years, can Republicans really claim with a straight face that it was the Obama administration that caused it? Because I don’t think Americans will buy that. Well, 45% of them might, but the other 55% will remember which party presided over the collapse and which one stepped in to help stop the bleeding.

I just wonder if this is a strategy that almost guarantees a electoral backfire if the economy starts to pick up again in a year or so.

What do you think?

  • Dennis Sanders


    I think it is a bit of an over reach to say that the GOP and the GOP alone caused this crisis. You can say that some deregulation lead us to this mess, but that was done by both parties, not just the GOP.

    Second, while I do think the GOP puts too much stock in tax cuts when taxes are already low, I don’t think the current package is a good one. McCain is correct that this will create massive debt and since he has also lashed out when the GOP did racked up debt, I think his words should be listened to.

    Finally, you seem to expect that the Republicans should just roll over and do the Democrats bidding since it was the Dems that won. Well, elections do have consquences. But, part of a democracy is that you have to deal with people who have very different opinions on how government and the ceconomy should be run. You just can’t expect people who tend to lean more in way of less government and the free market to just accept a bill that in many people’s eyes (including my own) is laden with a lot of spending that won’t alleviate this crisis. I’m not saying some of that spending isn’t needed. Goodness knows we need money spent on infrastructure. But I think a lot of this is a liberal wish list that comes under the guise of “stimulus” and not things that will target the current crisis.

    If the Dems and Obama were serious in getting a true bipartisan bill done, they would have worked harder to get a real deal with the GOP. yes, the GOP would also have to compromise, but there needed to be a real sense of coming together and making deals, instead of cookies and invotes to watch the Superbowl. That’s real bipartisanship and new politics. The stimulus is none of that.

  • Rob

    I stopped voting R during Reagan, so my opinion doesn’t really matter. Neither does the 45% that always votes R. The middle I think will remember Bush as the problem. But two years is a long time, and the effort to paint this as Obama’s recession is shameless. It could work for them, unless the media quits being so lazy.

  • Jimmy the Dhimmi

    what economic indicators will Republicans be pointing to in 2010 and beyond to demonstrate that Obama has wrecked the economy?

    An inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar. There is no reason for this to happen, particularly since there has been significant deflation recently. Agreed?

    If Bush had a third term, or if McCain had won, then there really wouldn’t be much of a difference. They would have their own stimulus bills and the Fed would keep printing money. Keep in mind, however, If Al Gore or John Kerry had won the white house previously, the collapse of the mortgage industry still would have occured as well.

    So if you are going to harp for the next 10 years that it was Bush’s fault since he presided over the initiation of the recession, then surely you must place blame on Obama if he presides over a failed economy that doesn’t bounce back in 18 months – which is about the length of the each of the past 3 recessions.

  • ExiledIndependent

    But Justin, to hear Obama’s perspective, the Republican approach will result in economic Armageddon. So to be balanced, there is hyperbolic rhetoric coming from the Obama/Dem side of things as well. Or is it that if it comes from Obama it’s true, not an exaggerated scare tactic?

    Oh, I know, it’s the whole, “We’ve got to do SOMETHING!!!!” argument. This is exactly what happened last year with the financial bailout. Obama and Bush and McCain were in lockstep and now we’re left with unintended consequences of gross misspending of the funds without the results people were hoping for. What would have happened if the government allowed those failed banks to, well, fail, and instead use a portion of the money to partially protect the individuals who were poised to lose their investments? Bad banks fail, new banks (smarter, more fiscally responsible) rise up. The market long-term is stronger. But instead we had politicians (in a remarkable show of bi-partisan idiocy) rush through something that was poorly thought out. So let’s do the same thing again and hope for a different outcome. Insanity.

  • mw

    I was going to comment – but – no need.

    What ExiledIndependent said.

    Could not say it better.

  • gerryf

    OK, I’ll bite.

    While I think the financial bailout was a sheer act of idiocy, and both parties are to blame, why do you automatically equate the Stimulis bill with that?

    The financial bailout was a 3 page memo, which was barely reviewed by congress when it was expanded to what…70 pages?…by a man who was a party to everything that was wrong (paulson)

    Basically, it was, “How much more money can we get out of this Presidency before we get kicked out the door?”

    The Stimulus Bill was not thrown together on the back of a napkin on January 20 — the Dems had months to work on on it–maybe too much time. But if all the GOP can do is complain about less than 2 percent of the bill, how bad can it really be?

  • Trescml

    The Republicans know that they can fight against the stimulus bill because the next major topic will be TARP-II and everyone will be so angry with that idea they will have no memory of who opposed a stimulus bill.

  • John Burke

    Several points:

    On Republican opposition:

    — It’s not all the same, as if GOP Senators all agreed. There are three (maybe more on final passage of a two-house bill) without whom no bill could pass. Then there are probably another 6 to 10 (including McCain) whose votes were obtainable, if the bill were significantly modified to reflect their preferences. This group wasn’t repelled by the size of the package but its content. Then, there are another 6 to 10 whose support would have been possible — though hardly in the bag — if Obama had laid down a process by which both sets of Congressional leaders could develop a bill acceptable to Obama. Finally, as many as 20 GOP Senators would vote against any bill of this size, because they and their constituents agree on the notion, whether right or wrong, that government spending is almost always the last thing to be used.

    On the GOP politics:

    — Opposing the bill at this point is almost a sure bet for Republicans. If the economy still sucks in 12-18 months when mid-term elections are heating up, GOP candidates will be able to point to many examples of waste in the programs (which are inevitable) and maybe even corruption in contracts and what not to campaign in marginal districts and states on the proposition that Congress and Obama ran up a huge debt and future tax bill without delivering the goods. If the economy is swimming along nicely again, Obama will get the credit regardles of how many GOP Senators supported the thing. There will be other issues by then, and voters can be relied on to have short memories. If (heaven forbid) the economy is worse, it’s a bit pollyanish for Democrats to think that swing voters will still be blaming Bush for it.

    On the substance:

    — I think people everyone should show a bit more humility about what will or won’t stimulate the economy. No one really knows; it’s hardly an exact science; economists all have political and ideological biases; some tax cuts are more stimulative than others and some spending is more stimulative than other spending, and some cuts are more stimulative than expenditures and vice versa, so that one should be wary of any sweeping claims about one or the other.

  • Jim S

    So…EI and MW are basically saying everything will work out OK if we do nothing? Am I missing something about what they are claiming in this thread?

  • Justin Gardner

    Ahh, so much

    First, the bailout last year was necessary not to help bad banks but to make sure that money literally didn’t run out. I know it’s convenient for all of you naysayers to claim that the market could have fixed itself (when you have absolutely no proof to back that up), but – newsflash – there were actually many far reaching implications and if we hadn’t acted to inject capital into the system we would have seen a domino effect that would have caused a deflationary spiral. Claim it’s idiocy all you want Exiled, but that’s a very easy position to take when you wanted to do nothing but watch it all collapse. Yeah, gee, that would have worked out…let the market “correct” itself and meanwhile businesses have absolutely no capital to pay their employees and nobody can get money out of the ATMs. No, that wouldn’t have been a problem or anything. That wouldn’t have destroyed worldwide confidence in the US economy or anything. Good call guys. We should have taken your advice.

    Second, credit has started to unfreeze and that’s with only half the money spent. I’d never claim that mistakes haven’t been made and CEOs haven’t acted irresponsibly, but that was because of Paulson’s poor planning and lack of responsiveness to people who were charged with keeping track of the money. And yes, there are people who are trying to do the diligence, but they were blocked by Paulson and his crew. That’s on his head and Bush’s, not people who supported the bill.

    Third, there was bipartisan support because everybody saw how absolutely dire the situation was. And that’s why nearly every single major economic power moved to do extremely similar things. Because all of our banking is connected now and it was all going down the tubes. You former hawks want a 24 torture pr0n moment? Well last fall we got it but it was in the economy. We were alerted at the last minute of what was the equivalent of having actionable intelligence that we knew a disaster was 100% guaranteed. And yet you all argued that we should just let it happen. That’s irresponsible.

    To the point of the stimulus, have you look at the economic indicators lately or you just going with your gut? Are you people really trying to credibly tell me that this economy isn’t in a nosedive? We’ve lost 1.8 million jobs in the last three months. Consumer spending is at its lowest levels in nearly 50 years. Prices are continuing to deflate.

    Listen, I don’t think the stimulus is a cureall, and Obama hasn’t claimed that either. But it is a big downpayment on what we need to do to get this economy moving again. If it fails miserably and our economy begins to tank and inflation goes through the rough, I will be the first one to spread the mea culpas far and wide. But if the bleeding stops and the economy rebounds, I expect ALL of you to do the same.

  • Jim S


    Here is a serious look at the package. As far as McCain and Republicans like him being amenable to compromise is concerned I don’t buy it. Where is any evidence of it? Do you really think the campaign McCain has gone away? The McCain who decided to enter the fold of the true believers and good soldiers of the Republican Party? They want the Bush tax cuts to be permanent. They want a cut in corporate taxes even as the loopholes that make the official rate meaningless stay in place. How much spending needs to be cut, Dennis? How much should taxes be cut? Should the bill be half its current size? One-third? Do you even appreciate how much of an understatement you made on Republican belief in tax cuts? If not let me refer you to this.

  • Tully

    But it is a big downpayment on what we need to do to get this economy moving again.

    BS. It’s a big downpayment on decades of frustrated Democratic spending plans. A larger real stimulative effect could be achieved by sending every US citizen a check for their share of the billions being voted on, or just dropping it all by helicopter…all spending has some temporary stimulative effect, but the new program spending in the bill is pretty damn low-grade as far as bang-for-the-buck goes. And with the bulk of it months and years down the road, the claim simply dissolves. We got into this mess by spending more than we had, financing it with borrowing. It’s a peculiar cure that prescribes expanding the cause.

    What WOULD be good (and there is some good even in the current bill) on the spending side is direct aid to the unemployed, and direct tax relief to lower-income workers. Most of the rest of it is little more than pork. The “tax-cut” side is likewise mostly special-interest junk.

    To the point of the stimulus, have you look at the economic indicators lately or you just going with your gut?

    I have. Leading indicators are flattened, flattening, or rising. We’re starting to hit bottom, and the markets reflect it, having stubbornly refused to re-test the lows of last fall. You do know that employment is a lagging indicator, don’t you? Not a leading one?

    Consumer spending is at its lowest levels in nearly 50 years.

    That’s a downright false statement that tells me you don’t know the components of the index, or how it’s measured. What we have had is the longest period of weak or negative growth in the index since figures were standardized in 1959, but consumer spending has most assuredly NOT fallen to 1959 levels! (That would require a roughly 85% reduction from last year’s levels–and we’re not yet down to 2005 levels.)

    And guess what? Roughly two-thirds of the decline in the index over the last several months is due to…wait for it…LOWER OIL PRICES. It’s not BAD news that consumers have to spend less than $4/gallon for fuel. That itself is an economic stimulus, and a honking big one, about $500 billion in national savings without costing the taxpayers one dime in added national debt.