Re: Democrats to placate Republicans on recovery plan
Source John Gulick
Date 09/02/04/11:06

LP posted:

(Some liberals warned about judging Obama solely on his cabinet appointments and urged that we wait until after
he has taken office. Well, he has taken office and the verdict should be clear by now. 18 dead Pakistanis and an
ineffective "triangulated" recovery plan.)

JG writes:

Usually I am inclined to agree with Lou on the lame center-rightism of the Obama squad, but I think he oversimplifies matters
here. (I suppose that oversimplification is a necessary evil when only one sentence is being penned on the stimulus package.)

On this issue at least, I believe that Obama's courting of the Republicans and sandbagging of the liberals does not spring from
some philosophical or political devotion to center-right bipartisanship (although O may well be possessed of that), but rather from
his (and his team's) assessment that whatever package does get approved, it will be nugatory in its stimulative effect. Since even
a $800-$900 billion outlay won't accomplish a great deal -- and since, more obviously, there's no way that the Obama team would
even consider spearheading a more aggressive spending plan -- the ultimately approved package might as well have a bipartisan
stamp on it so that the Republicans will take a co-equal hit.

That being said, it is indeed true that the current Congressional proposals are larded with ungodly amounts of corporate welfare pork
(sorry for sounding like such a pseudo-"edgy" cable news pundit!). There's a dilemma here. As many have intelligently argued, putting
money in the hands of the laid-off via extended unemployment benefits, of furloughed public employees via aid to localities and states,
of the income-stressed via tax relief, and so on won't do much to prime the pump because these parties will simply use the cash to make
mortgage payments, to pay down credit card debt, and so on. What's needed is a massive public works program. But if crafted hastily
such an infrastructure program will line the pockets of capitalist contractors. And even the nominally progressive coalition in favor
of clean energy/green technology doesn't have a problem with the latter as long as said contractors are "eco-entrepreneurs" rather than
the usual suspects (from the Bechtels and Halliburtons on down to the local road builders). Is anyone on the radar screen even talking
about forming new democratically controlled public corporations (borrowing expertise from the private sector and universities) to do the
contracting work? That no one is and that I'm not the least bit surprised is a comment on the sad state of US politics (including "movement"
politics) today.

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