Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Decline and Fall of 'liberal' CNN

Just got injured in an indoor soccer game. As I was resting on my recliner, I did a horrible thing. I turned on CNN. What did it tell me? One talking head asked another if Obama and the Democrats were "really" being bipartisan. The answer? No! The evidence? Not a single Republican in the House voted for the stimulus package...

Let's review the facts there... A couple months ago, before the Obama team announced its stimulus plan, when Paul Krugman was pushing a bill about $600-700 billion in new spending in the first year alone, conservative economist Martin Feldstein, who advised Reagan, published an Op-Ed calling for a $400 billion stimulus plan this year and the same amount for next, with a mixture of tax cuts and new spending (though he wanted lots of new military spending). Now, except for the focus on military spending, that's exactly what Obama's plan is! Liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz wanted no tax cuts... So, conservatives got about 85% of what they wanted, before the plan was announced, liberal economists basically just got the shaft. Not only do we think it is too small, but too heavily weighted toward tax cuts. What happened after the plan was announced, of course, was that the goal posts shifted. House Republicans realized it was in their political interests to just oppose whatever bill came out. Why was it in their interests to do so? Because then the press coverage would be that Obama's stimulus bill is not bi-partisan. And so, if those risky tax cuts don't work, Democrat's will own it. Obama made, in my opinion, waaaay too many concessions, and what did he get for it? A worse stimulus bill and the label 'partisan'.

Except, of course, these weren't really concessions, the tax cuts were what Larry Summers thinks is prudent policy... Just happened to be pretty much the same thing that Martin Feldstein thinks is good policy...

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