Friday, February 13, 2009

Crazy Like A Fox.

Sen. Gregg Withdraws as Commerce Secretary

"It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the census there are irresolvable conflicts for me," Gregg of New Hampshire said in a written statement.
Now I'm sure that most of you have heard this already, but I'm also hearing a lot of "Well, of course, what was he thinking in the first place?" coming from talk radio today.

I think there's more going on here. Consider this:

By now, the word has started to get out that the "Stimulus" Bill is a great big, steaming pile of debt that will crush future generations - Blogs are speaking out against it - Talk radio is speaking out against it - basically, everyone who's paying attention already knows.

But what about the people who aren't paying attention?

The people who get their news from the Mainstream Media are the ones who really elected Barack Obama in the first place - on no substantive information and only the vague promises of "Hope & Change" delivered to fawning reporters by a good-looking guy with a nice baritone and a hot teleprompter.

Those same "swing-voters" are still getting their news from 'Good Morning America' and Chris Matthews - GMA still refuses to examine or report the facts of the "Stimulus" bill critically, while Chris Matthews is ...well,
Chris Matthews.

So how does the message of "Stimulus Bill is a great big, steaming pile of debt that will crush future generations" - get out to those people who aren't following the whole thing closely?

Just like this: When a Republican Senator offers himself to the Obama cabinet on a wave of "Bi-Partisan Unity", is appointed to the cushy job of Commerce Secretary...

...and then, upon "Getting Inside" - ostensibly gets a look at what's going on and bails, saying
"There's no way I can be a part of this - respectfully, Mr. President, you can keep your job."

There's no way the Mainstream Media can entirely ignore that - especially with the history of the first Commerce-appointee having to withdraw over a "pay-for-play" scandal.

Now the second appointee refuses a Presidential Cabinet Appointment because the "Stimulus" is so bad?

Which, incidentally, is just as good as publicly announcing his "No" vote.
(notably highlighting These Three as the only bought-and-paid-for (R)-wearing traitors to common sense)

Who could have done a better job of getting that point out to the TV-News-Watching public?

And we go back to having a self-demonstrated Conservative in that senate seat.

I couldn't have come up with anything that good.

- MuscleDaddy


  1. I find it interesting that this group of Republicans - who cheerfully mailed out the cheques enabling $2.4 trillion in deficit spending to amass from 2000 to 2006 [those lucky future generations!] - are now representing themselves as a stern collection of fiscally austere conservatives.

    To me, their intransigence appears to have little to do with what might actually be good for the nation, but rather what might be good for the Republican party. They are making a gamble - likely a smart one - that they have nothing to gain from supporting such a plan, and that unyielding opposition now may reap substantial political rewards in 2010. It's pure partisan politics.

    I'm no economist, and I'm troubled by much of the Stimulus plan, but I have no illusions that the Republicans are making some manner of principled stand against government spending. They've done little but spend since Reagan was sworn in as president.

  2. I agree with you Tyrone. The Republicans have no right to suddenly become blushing violets when it comes to spending, but I think they could raise one valid point. Before we pass the largest spending bill, IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! shouldn't we get a chance to... like... you know.... READ it first?
    No one, as yet, has any idea what kind of porcupine pickles were shoved into this crap sandwich at the last minute.
    For example. sounds reasonable to me

  3. Tyrone,

    Fair enough - as far as it goes.

    But honestly, man - this is so far out of proportion at this point as to nearly be a straw-argument.

    $2.4Tr over 6 years is bad and there's no way around that, but the Dems have been trying to hit the half-way mark on that number at One. Single. Shot.

    That's like chastising someone for using too much firewood, and then calling him a "hypocrite" when he balks at just torching the whole forest.

    - MD

  4. I can appreciate your sentiments about the number, MD, but let's try and keep things in perspective. It's not like the Democrats decided to try and pass the mother of all spending sprees for skips and giggles - there is a difference between the radioactive financial situation the Obama administration faces and, say, an administration that lost track of billions of crisp dollar bills shrink-wrapped and waiting to disappear into the bowels of Iraq.

    I sometimes wonder if the average American really has a grasp on how utterly precariously teetering the entire global capitalistic economic structure really is. From the actions of the Democrats and Republicans over the past few months, you might suspect it was all a big game. Obama was pretty explicit about his intention to immediately enact some manner of Keynesian stimulus to combat a potential depression and stave off the dreaded deflationary spiral via a liquidity trap. You can certainly make a case that a stimulus is not the right way to combat this disaster - there are many excellent economists out there that I have read who state that exact thing. There are others who aver that the stimulus just passed is far too meager and ill-thought out to make any appreciable difference. I believe that the government knows how precarious our situation is, are terrified by the implications of inaction, but cannot shake off the corrupting influence of the beltway lobbies and Wall Street campaign financiers sufficiently to aggressively attack the problem head-on.

    Personally, I think our banking situation is the prime danger. I cannot overstate how disappointed I was by Geithner's pathetic plan to think up a plan last week; I also believe that Geithner and Summers and their posses are far too entrenched in the Wall Street Glee Club to objectively assess and suggest what needs to be done. As it now stands, the banks are hoarding their TARP funds to build a larger reserve cushion, have still not realistically assessed the value of their toxic assets, whose losses may be in the range of some $3.6 trillion; in other words, the banks are insolvent. Until we formulate a serious plan to deal with this, the money we throw at the banks is going to go to build up reserves while doing diddly squat to get capital out into the markets.

    I don't like the stimulus as passed - I think there is far too much long-term spending provisions, and, as-per-usual, the Democrats cannot keep their pudgy fingers from all collectively wanting a dip into the pie, to the degree that the original plans for the stimulus are being lost in regional pork. Nevertheless, something has to be done. We've got states that are nearing the end of their employment insurance reserves even as we have now lost the greatest number of jobs in three months since we began to keep such data back in 1939. If this continues, our economy is going to contract severely - and the near-trillion dollars spent on this stimulus could conceivably be zero-summed by a change in our debt-to-GDP ratio if the economy shrinks sufficiently. Adding such monstrous debt is never a happy option, but IMO it is worse to do nothing while perched on the event-horizon of liquidity entrapment. If we reach two-three million further job losses in the next few months, we will be facing a potentially volatile situation where the employment insurance dollars will have dried up, even as the credit crunch may have extended to shipping credit to the degree that imports, especially food imports, will have dropped significantly. Then a price tag $787 billion in preventative spending will seem a small price to pay.

    However, daddyquatro is right-on about the miasmatic number of congresspersons that apparently declined to even read what they were supporting or condemming, and there's no excuse for it other than to say, sadly, this seems to have become SOP in Washington.


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