Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

For years, I've witnessed the powerful messaging machine of the right wing in our country. Their exaggerations, threats, and misinformation have long dominated the political debate in America, and while I disagree with their viewpoint I do have to admit that their methods are incredibly effective. Many times when I've seen some crazy tax cut pushed through, or ridiculous cut in social services, I've said to myself, "If only the Democrats would fight in the same way as these Republicans."

I guess I should have been more specific, as it seems that President Obama has made my wish come all-too true. Not only is he fighting for an old Republican tax cut, larded with additional new Republican tax cuts, but he's also employing a Bush-like fear approach to his latest plan: Pass my bill or we'll see a recession!

Personally, I'm not sure we've ever exited the current recession. Unemployment has been at 9% for almost two years. Here in Oregon it's been in double digits for the same amount of time.* The housing market has been in the toilet for a couple of years. Sure, the stock market is up and there are record profits on wall street, but that doesn't mean the recession has ever really ended.

Even if an argument can be made that the recession has ended, what possibly makes you think that these tax cuts will prevent another one?** The evidence that they will do anything to help the economy is questionable at best. Does the President even recall his own arguments on the ineffectiveness of tax cuts? An equally (if not more) valid argument could be made that passing this bill instead of one more robust will lead to a double dip recession.

Every time I think we're as far as we can get into Bizarro World, we take a step further.

* Ignoring the fact, of course, that our method of counting unemployment is far from accurate as it fails to consider those underemployed or unemployed no longer receiving benefits.

** Not to mention the modest tax INCREASE that the very lowest paid Americans will see. Increase taxes on the poor, decrease taxes on the super rich. How is this the policy of a Democrat?


  1. For every dollar spent in tax cuts, less than a dollar circulates in the economy. For every dollar spent in unemployment insurance, more than a dollar circulates in the economy.

  2. Good point Paul. I believe the figures are in the $1.50 range for UI benefits, and $0.60 for tax cuts. I'm pretty sure that the President talked about that sort of thing back when he was campaigning, although I know I've seen those figures much more recently.