Ah, bipartisanship. What would Washington be without it? It’s a lovely word that gives politicians the opportunity to link arms and claim that they’re working for the common good of the American people — while mainly working for their own good.
Case in point: the economic stimulus package, hailed far and wide (which, in the nation’s capital is defined as “both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue”) for its refreshing bipartisan spirit.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants to make sure everyone takes note of this spirit of comity. Her fact sheet emphasizes that it’s not just an economic stimulus package, but a bipartisan economic stimulus package.
According to the Washington Post’s Peter Baker and Jonathan Weisman, Pelosi used the words bipartisan and bipartisanship 10 times when announcing the deal — just to make sure she got the point across.
The Posties seem to have bought it, too. According to their article, the package spotlights the “rarity of bipartisan action.”
With all the fuss over the two parties’ lovey-dovey hand-holding, you’d think we’d somehow achieved peace on earth and good will toward men, or at least a four day Frenchified work week.
But no, the parties have come together to push a stimulus package that looks to be largely ineffective — an election-year political pander, pure and simple.
PANIC OVER AN economic slowdown and swings in the stock market have convinced many that a recession is coming, and that a shot of fiscal policy testosterone is necessary.
That’s certainly how President Bush sees it. “To keep our economy growing and creating jobs, Congress and the administration need to work to enact an economic growth package as soon as possible,” he warned recently.
But what if he’s wrong? Congressional Budget Office Director Peter Orzsag recently told Congress that while economic growth is likely to slow in 2008, “most professional economic forecasters are continuing to project very slow growth, as opposed to an outright recession.”
Orzsag also noted that “legislative action aimed at providing stimulus may not be necessary.” So all the “Danger, Will Robinson!” warnings may be a bit much.
Not that that’s stopping anyone. Instead of level-headed analysis, the idea in Washington seems to be to capitalize on economic anxieties so that our Congress-critters can claim to have “done something” about the economy.
UNFORTUNATELY, for Congress “do something” rarely translates into “do something effective.” The current plan, just passed by the House, is no exception.
The main feature of the nearly $150 billion plan is a tax-rebate to middle and lower-income Americans. Most individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 will receive a $600 check, courtesy of all the good men and women in Congress, who hope you’ll remember come November. Bribery, of course, is illegal in U.S. politics, but just keep in mind who paid for your new flat-screen TV.
The package is also loaded with all sorts of ineffective liberal pet programs — expansion of implicitly government-backed mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, for one — and Senate Democrats have indicated their desire to add more (extra funding for food stamps and unemployment benefits), none of which are likely to spur economic growth.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online