The stimulus bill was passed in the House without a single Republican vote, and kudos to House Republicans for that. Predictably, the Los Angeles Times portrays Republicans as complainers:
The House’s Democratic leaders pushed the plan to the floor confident about holding the votes needed for passage without the support of Republicans complaining that the plan includes too much new government spending and not enough tax relief. . . . House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R- Ohio) led other GOP lawmakers in voicing the party’s complaint about the measure . . . Republicans complain that Congress also rushed to action on a $700-billion bailout for the nation’s financial institutions in December
Nobody likes a “complainer.” Ya think the editors have that in mind? (By the way, who wants to chip in to buy reporter Mark Silva a thesaurus? Yeah, me neither. Rather, let’s beat him with a cluebat.)
A typical passage contains quotes from a Democrat Congressman comparing Republicans to Herbert Hoover:
“I am tempted to ask . . . what year is this?” House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) asked during debate over one rebuffed Republican amendment. “I didn’t think it was 1933. I thought it was 2009, or something close to it. . . . They don’t look like Herbert Hoover, but there are an awful lot of people in this chamber who sound like Herbert Hoover. . . .
“This is not Herbert Hoover time,” Obey said. “The time for action is now.”
Reading the article, you’d assume that the GOP had no positive measure to offer as an alternative. There is a hint, 14 paragraphs into a 17-paragraph article:
“Our bill will create more at a substantially lower cost,” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said.
Huh? The Republicans had a bill of their own? That’s the only suggestion of that fact in the entire article.
If you want to actually read it about the Republicans’ alternatives, you’ll have to go to the New York Times, which tells us:
The House voted down several Republican proposals, including a substitute package made up entirely of tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Republicans did not say how much their package would cost, although Mr. Boehner said it would be far less than the Democratic plan. That tax-cut-only approach was defeated on a mostly party-line vote of 266 to 170; two Democrats joined all but nine moderate Republicans in voting for the Republican plan.
By another near-party-line vote, 270 to 159, the House rejected a Republican plan to delete a number of spending programs, including several representing top campaign promises of Mr. Obama, and to add instead $36 billion for highway construction, more than doubling the $30 billion in the bill, and $24 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects.
Hey, New York Times? In addition to offering less costly alternatives, Republicans also complained, and in addition, they complained. You might want to mention that.
But the L.A. Times is content to paint Republicans as mere obstructionists. The L.A. Times article concludes much as it began, with quotations of Democrat wonderment at how Republicans could stand in the way of such a much-needed package:
“The late Jack Kennedy made a remark that sometimes, just sometimes, your party asks too much of you,” Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) told Republicans on the House floor. “Why they would ask you to vote against this, I will never know.”
Ooh, ooh! Call on me! I know!
This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.
We’ve looked it over, and even we can’t quite believe it. There’s $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There’s even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.
In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make “dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy.” Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There’s another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.
Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And even many of these projects aren’t likely to help the economy immediately. As Peter Orszag, the President’s new budget director, told Congress a year ago, “even those [public works] that are ‘on the shelf’ generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.”
That from the Wall Street Journal, by the way. Complainers!