Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Blue Dog gets serious about stimulus

I had hoped that this would happen, and even while I wondered about this aloud, I had others telling me I was nuts. But it appears that one Blue Dog Democrat is taking the stimulus seriously. How serious is he? About $170 billion:

While President Barack Obama goes on the road to shore up slipping popular support for the $1 trillion stimulus porkfest that he ordered up from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Walt Minnick, a freshman Democrat from Idaho, is pushing a better idea: The Strategic Targeted American Recovery and Transition Act (START).

Minnick is a member of the Blue Dog caucus of occasionally conservative Democrats. His START plan is a $170 billion “bare bones” pure stimulus approach that would put $100 billion immediately into the pockets of low- and middle-income Americans, then use the other $70 billion for basic infrastructure projects that create jobs. START requires that all funds not spent by 2010 be returned to the Treasury. START also stops stimulus spending when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product increases in two of three previous quarters, and all START payments are required to be posted on a public website.

Minnick introduced START as an alternative – just in case the legislative process stalls out, says press secretary John Foster. As one of the brave 11 Democrats who voted against Pelosi’s stimulus bill, Minnick explained to folks back home that he opposed the speaker’s version because it was so “Christmas-treed up” with wasteful spending, like $300 million for golf carts. Foster told The Examiner that the House leadership encourages members to do what’s best for their districts, so there has been no backlash. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Recent CBS and Rasmussen polls found that the public is becoming less enchanted with the idea of imposing a trillion dollar debt on future generations, especially a plan that will do more long-term damage to the economy than doing nothing, according to theCongressional Budget Office. Yet once enacted, this massive stimulus program cannot be undone – even though there’s no guarantee it will work. If it doesn’t, then what? We’ve already thrown away $350 billion on a bank bailout. When is it time to stop throwing borrowed money after bad? "We’ve got to get this economy moving again, but we’ve got to do it in an effective way without saddling our children with $1 trillion in debt,” Minnick said. “If we’ve got to spend, every nickel needs to create jobs, and create them quickly.” In other words, START is everything the Senate and House stimulus proposals are not - targeted, timely and temporary.

Kudos to Rep. Minnick. He's done what the rest of the Congress couldn't do which is come up with a feasible plan to get the economy back on track. And it's a sound plan which is why no one -- not a Pelosi caucus Democrat, not a Reid caucus Democrat, and certainly not the media -- is going to pay a bit of attention to Rep. Minnick, or any other Blue Dogs caterwauling about how bad this bill is.

While we would support a minimal amount of government intervention in getting the economy back on track, Rep. Minnick is 100% correct about the stimulus. It is a pork bill, and that pork won't do anything to really help the economy. And because it's porked up is exactly the reason why they're trying to ram this bill through as quickly as possible. They know that the longer this bill stays out there, the more people will be able to see what's really in it. The Left in Congress learned an important lesson from the amnesty debacle in 2006.

The amnesty bill hung around way too long. Talk radio and blogs were able to level serious scrutiny to the bill, and then jazzed up the nation to deluge DC with phone calls, e-mails, and faxes warning the Congress not to pass it lest they wish to be unemployed come election time. This stimulus was on the drawing board shortly before the election, and now that the election is over, the Left is moving full speed ahead to make us eat this "crap sandwich." If they get this pushed through quickly, then there's no time for scrutiny. The Examiner's editors are quite correct in noting that when this goes through, none of this will be undone later down the line. That's why Rep. Minnick put a sunset stop-gap in his stimulus bill. Once certain criteria is met, the bill expires.

But the Left don't want that. They want their pork, and they want the largest expansion of government since the New Deal. They know that the longer this goes on, the more the public will learn, and the more the public will turn against them.

Publius II


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