Krugman points out an analysis of the proposed $300 bn tax cut that suggests it’s a lot of nothing. I think Obama is right – we need this stimulus, fast, and it had better be massive. But devoting nearly 40% of the stimulus to non-stimulus tax-pork, in an effort to woo Republican votes, seems at odds with the notion that this is an emergency.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify devoting 40% of the stimulus plan to non-stimulus spending. Either we have a national emergency or we don’t. It’s time we cut the talk of “but Obama promised he’d cut taxes.” Yes, he did. He also promised he’d lift the ban on gays in military and work to repeal DOMA, and I don’t see those included in this package. The stimulus package is not the place for extraneous campaign promises that have nothing to with the immediate economic emergency facing our nation. There will be plenty of time for Obama to cut taxes and keep every other campaign promise after he addresses the current economic crisis. But watering down the stimulus package by nearly half, simply because “he promised,” borders on suicidal. And if we’re doing it to woo Republican votes, then prepare the stimulus package we need, and sell it to the American people.
Reportedly, the tax cuts were increased to $300bn in order to woo enough Republicans to pass the bill with 80 or more votes in the Senate. The thing is, to the people who are in danger of losing their jobs and their homes and their retirement and their health care it doesn’t really matter if the package passes by 80 votes or simply 51. Sweetening the deal by watering down the bill does nothing to advance our economic security.