The Real Agenda February 3, 2009Posted by Dwight Furrow in Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
While global economic catastrophe looms, Republicans first in the House and now in the Senate continue to try to block Obama’s stimulus package–the only legislation that has a chance of getting the economy back on track. The stimulus package received no Republican votes when it passed the House last week and Senate Republicans are threatening a filibuster in the Senate.
Their complaints range from the demonstrably false to the ridiculous. They complain about “pet projects” inserted in the plan that represent a minuscule percentage of the total spending. They claim that tax cuts have no stimulative effect if they go to low-income workers despite the obvious fact that low income people have no choice but to immediately spend virtually all their income on necessities. They claim that spending on major building projects will not create jobs. Who will build them? Ants? They claim that aid to the states is just bureaucratic bloat despite the fact that aid to states will save the jobs of thousands of teachers, health care workers, law enforcement personnel, and other people who man state agencies. They claim that the only policy that will work is corporate tax cuts, a claim that has been decisively refuted by economists across the ideological spectrum.
There are legitimate debates about what kind of projects will produce the greatest stimulus. But you won’t here these from Republicans because such a debate would presuppose the validity of government spending when trying to exit a recession.
Conservatives disagree on many issues, but they are united in their disdain for government spending, which they view as inefficient and unnecessary. If Obama’s stimulus plan should succeed, the core beliefs of conservative ideology will collapse. After FDR’s government institution-building that helped get us out of the depression of the 1930’s, it took 40 years for the Republican Party to regain its influence. Contemporary conservatives face a similar scenario. Thus, the real agenda of conservatives is to deal with this existential threat. I sort of feel sorry for them. They are between a rock and a hard place. They can go along with Obama and eviscerate their raison d’etre or resist and hope he fails. Most seem in the mood for resistance. (For once, Chairman Rush sees things clearly.) A puzzling approach for a party that claims to put country first.