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Ear to the Ground

Krugman: Down With Centrist Senators

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Posted on Feb 9, 2009

Note to all the senators who trotted out their best horse-trading tactics to create the latest, pared-down version of the stimulus bill: Paul Krugman does not approve of your centrist ways.

Krugman in The New York Times:

Even if the original Obama plan — around $800 billion in stimulus, with a substantial fraction of that total given over to ineffective tax cuts — had been enacted, it wouldn’t have been enough to fill the looming hole in the U.S. economy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will amount to $2.9 trillion over the next three years.

Yet the centrists did their best to make the plan weaker and worse.

One of the best features of the original plan was aid to cash-strapped state governments, which would have provided a quick boost to the economy while preserving essential services. But the centrists insisted on a $40 billion cut in that spending.

The original plan also included badly needed spending on school construction; $16 billion of that spending was cut. It included aid to the unemployed, especially help in maintaining health care — cut. Food stamps — cut. All in all, more than $80 billion was cut from the plan, with the great bulk of those cuts falling on precisely the measures that would do the most to reduce the depth and pain of this slump.

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By coloradokarl, February 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

I just read on another blog that the banks are $1-2 trillion in debt and the powers that be are afraid to break it to the American public. We either bail them out or take them over, two crummy deals. I say take them over, fire all the executives (they should be able to last 2-3 years off savings) let the workers run the day to day functions and after the housing market stabilizes SLOWLY start selling the assets if done properly we can ride the market up to at least close to break even.

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By Spiritgirl, February 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

These people still don’t get it!  The Rethugnikans and their Democratic collaborators still don’t (a)take responsibility for allowing the nation to get where it is because of deregulation and no enforcement of the laws on the books, (b)continued tax cuts and a war of choice!

I hate to say it but maybe as more and more of the Rethugnikan “base” is unemployed, under-employed, and homeless - they will understand the reason that government needs to “spend” money, in supplying the states with much needed funds to unemployment compensation, teacher police and firefighter pay, hospital services, etc.!  While the Congress fiddles, Main Street burns!

Now is not the time for timidity, now is the time for the bold ideas - such as spending to improve mass transit, better more modernized schools, and more efficiency in our energy grids.  Now is the time to restructure our banking system - separating banking from investment houses!  How about not voting for these idiots unless they really do have a clue!!!

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

coloradokarl—I would go along with that, yes!

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By coloradokarl, February 10, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

$350 Billion remaining tarp funds purchase foreclosed homes and pay for refurbishment and affordable rent subsidies. This hires construction workers,takes houses off the market (price stabilization) and affords housing to displaced families. The housing bubble is the root of our problems. Fix this and we wouldn’t need “stimulus” Just one Idea for your thoughts.

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

godistwqaddle—But the MSM loves them.

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By godistwaddle, February 10, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

It’s like “fair and balanced.” A progressive tells the absolute truth.  A Republican is called in and tells absolute lies.  A “centrist” apparently believes something in the middle.

Despicable, spineless people, centrists.

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By Verne Arnold, February 10, 2009 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

> coloradokarl, February 9 at 7:03 pm;

Yes; it does give one pause, doesn’t it. I remain an optimistic pessimist.

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By KDelphi, February 9, 2009 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

The wrong things were cut, no doubt about it. The GOP base is NOT going to vote for this. The so-called liberals might as well put the social spending back in! If the bill does nothing, the GOP will not blame it on their spending that they took out, not more tax cuts, nor the Wall St Bailout.They wont even accept their own, nor Dubya’s responsibiity for the huge , useles spending of the last 8 yrs (Neither do Dems) NO matter what “doesnt ” happens they wil blame it on “spending”!

coloradokarl—what is the extremely simple solution?

ocjim—The Deep South is still a neo-con stronghold. They dont believe in govt at all. They are just waiting for the big bar fight in the sky, I guess…they want to give more tax cuts (or, no taxes at all) to big corporations so they might give then a crappy job working on an oil rig, with no benefits, I guess. They dont really believe in Unions, equal pay, etc.

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By ocjim, February 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

None of the Republicans in either House of Congress have a clue. It’s not all about them and retaining their seat. It’s about our survival—first economically and second as a democracy.

But in the Senate, Republicans, who can get beyond vilifying all who don’t agree with them, are still logically and morally challenged.

The rest of the Republicans—the neocons—are a lost cause, and how can their constituents still support them?

The unemployment rate in many southern states is nearing double digits, including Alabama and North and South Carolina while Kentucky and Tennessee are near 9%.  What do people in Senate Republican states do?

Kentucky has the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.  And Senators Burr, Chambliss, Thune, Shelby, Hutchison and Corker are all hard-headed southern Republicans who are still spouting Reaganesque dribble: for example, saying that government is the problem.

One wonders what those trodden under by economic crisis in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee are saying about the boneheaded ideologues who represent them.

But perhaps the Republicans are just posturing, knowing that the Democrats will pass the legislation without them.

They can hope the recovery plan fails, and they can say, “I told you so!”

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By Margaret Currey, February 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama knows that this problem probably won’t go away by 2012 but for the Repubs to think that they will get reelected because of the fate of the country I think that that gamble might fall flat on its face.

People know that the Bush Administration wasted money by their bail out of the banks and then the banks get taxpayers money and won’t say how they spent the money.  I know that the Wells Fargo bank made money.

When I lived in Calif. Wells Fargo Bank would charge you do use the bank tellers they wanted you to use the ATM’s and the ATM’s were a great boon for the banks but for people who get robbed at ATM’s seems as the bank does not care about people.  Even more when I moved from Calif. and used the bank on the telephone same thing a service charge.  These crooks the same crooks get a bail out from the taxpayers.

I still think that the Bush Administration did a lot of illegal thinks and should be called to task.

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By G.Anderson, February 9, 2009 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

Krugman is right, don’t give a dam about the public, there only interested in more give aways to the wealthy, like the “flip the house” provision in this bill.

It’s clear to me that Republicans are willing to destroy this country, rather than give up political power.

Maybe if they were all under investigation for wrong doing under Bush’s regime, they would be a little more concerned about their country. 

Obama, should Veto this, and hold out for what America needs.

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By coloradokarl, February 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Obama should veto this package, It’s not worth the debt and future inflation. What happened to our “New energy economy?” the Republicans are rolling the dice on 2010. This is a very dangerous game for more that the obvious reasons. The “Three meals from Anarchy” theory comes into play at approximately the 12% unemployment rate (read 20% actual). The solution is so simple to me I wonder what the problem is. Unless civil disobedience is what the “Hidden Hand” truly wants on our slow and perilous journey to the One World Government. A Bankrupt America plays nicely into this agenda. This perfect storm of financial chaos is starting to look a little too…well, PERFECT !?!

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