Monday, January 5, 2009

Budget Talk

Lots of noise about the upcoming stimulus package, of which almost half might come in the form of tax cuts (see digby, TPM, TPM again, yet more TPM, even more TPM, did I mention TPM, Kos, Ezra Klein, Yglesias, AmericaBlog, et al.). Assorted observations:
  • I'm really sick of the current frame when it comes to taxes, which suggests that the only thing government can do for a large swath of the American public is deliver Yet Another Tax Cut.
  • With 59 votes in the Senate, Democrats shouldn't have a problem passing anything; as long as the White House can corral one of the Midwestern or Northeastern Republicans (Snowe, Collins, Specter, Lugar, Voinovich, and Grassley), McConnell won't be able to control his caucus.
  • In the same vein, shooting for 80 Senate votes is just silly; the 20th most conservative Senator--someone like John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, or Larry Craig by DW-NOMINATE rankings--does not live in the Reality-Based Community.
  • An awful lot depends on the details, of which there are precious few. Clinton budgets frequently included tax credits for hiring new workers, though I have no idea how effective or ineffective they were. We'll have to see what Martin Ginsburg and company have to say about the final proposal.


drip said...

Actually, it may be the need to keep Pryor, Bayh, Shaheen, Warner, Lincoln, Landrieu and the Nelsons on the reservation. Obama (on theTV) and Biden (on Capitol Hill) must sell this as something more that a cash giveaway to stimulate consumer spending coupled with a tax cut for the trickle down set. They can do it with a little rich banker bashing and some explanations of the way foreign trade, public works and deficits work.

drip said...

The above is not to say that I am not also sick of the republican version of money management. After wrecking the economy with a combination of reckless spending on militarization, unwarranted tax cuts, $500 billion annual transfers of wealth in the form of a housing bubble and artificially low interest rates, Bush and his acolytes left us where we are. Listening to Boehner and McConnell talk about the need for responsible government finance on NPR this morning made me actually angry. This sort of crap is what Obama must crush with his boot if he wants to succeed. If he can do it with a smile on his face, so much the better.