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Democratic Cave on Stimulus Package: The Glories Of “Bipartisanship”

Policy Cost-
Time-Lag Uncertainty
Individual Tax Proposals
Lump-Sum Rebate Large Medium Large
Temporary Tax Reductions
Withholding Holiday for the Employee Payroll Tax Large Medium Large
Across-the-Board Tax Rate Cut Small Short Small
Deferring or Eliminating Scheduled Tax Increases
Extending the AMT Patch Medium Long Medium
Deferring or Eliminating Tax Rate Increases Under EGTRRA or JGTRRA Small Long Small
Business Tax Proposals
Cut in Corporate Tax Rates Small Long Small
Incentives for New Investment Medium Medium Large
Extending Operating Loss and Carryback Provisions Small Medium Large
Spending Proposals
Direct Transfer Payments to Households
Extending or Expanding Unemployment Benefits Large Short Small
Temporarily Increasing Food Stamp Benefits Large Short Small
Providing General Aid to State and Local Governments Medium Medium Large
Investing in Public Works Projects Small Long Small

Please take a moment to look over this chart, produced by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and tell me which two spending proposals would be the most efficient. Which two proposals did the Democrats, in the spirit of reaching across the aisle to their Republican bretheren, give up? (Heralded in WaPo as "Deal Spotlights Rarity of Bipartisan Action.")

Paul Rosenberg:

It was yet another case in which Democrats, gave away the store. It was a classic triumph of "bipartisanship" over reality-as Paul Krugman and others have pointed out.

The two most significant items that the Democrats caved on (food stamps and unemployment insurance) were the only items that non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that would be cost-effective, fast-acting, and certain to produce the intended result…


The objective evidence is has become overwhelming. Bushism is no longer the enemy. Republicanism is no longer the enemy. Both of them are history-or would be, at any rate, if it were not for the real enemy, and the real enemy is bipartisanism.

"Bipartisanism" is the ideology of bipartisanship as a good unto itself, not in service to any other purpose, except, of course, "getting things done." The question of whether they are good things or bad things, wise things or foolish things, sane things or crazy things, life-sustaining things or life-destroying things-all such questions are not simply irrelevant, they are forms of blasphemy against the one true faith.

All bow down, and surrender your reason.

I sometimes feel like we say this stuff just for the sake of being on record so when this New Era O’Change that all the candidates tell me is going to seduce all the Republicans out from behind their barricades doesn’t actually happen we can point to it. But by that time, much like with the war, everybody will have developed false memories of a skepticism they never had so it’s kind of moot. Krugman was one of the lone voices speaking out against the war at the time too, and he gets little credit for it from the "we were right to be wrong" crowd.

In the mean time, if anyone can tell me exactly how all this "changiness" is going to take place, I’m all ears. Because as a fairlyclose observer of the unrelenting Republican obstructionism and the abject Democratic capitulation of the last week, I have to say, I’m not seeing it in the cards.

(h/t Eli for "changiness")

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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