Bipartisanship: Lowest Common Denominator?


According to CNBC,  the  US Senate has pared Obama’s Stimulus Package  from $937 to  $780 billion.  A vote is expected Sunday because Congress needs to start its  recess ASAP. 

(Remember the expressed outrage when Iraq’s Congress took a vacation while its nation faced insurrection and bankruptcy?  Remember our Congress’  indignation that Iraq’s lawmakers had the chutzpah  to take a vacation while American taxpayers footed the bill?  Remember the purpled faces and bursting veins of our shining palladins?) 

Most economists  are pleading  for a Stimulus Package nearer  $1 trillion.   They’ve  tossed an  I Ching of  formulae  based on percentages of Gross National Product and investment/return ratios and are shrieking,  “The appropriation is  going backwardThe train is out of control!  The horses are stampeding!”   Not a catastrophic metaphor has been left in the box.  And yet,  Nero fiddles as Rome burns.

Additionally,  “Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry said the compromise price tag would be made up of 42 percent tax cuts with 58 percent in new spending.”  (CNBC)  

Most economists agree that tax cuts are anathema in times like these–like  a passenger trying to stop a run-away rollercoaster by dragging her feet on the track:  it’s a waste of time, it won’t work and the thing in need of  saving will get her legs broken.

Obama’s practice these past two years has been to watch his opponents crash of their own gravity.  He doesn’t participate substantially in that downfall.  (It’s a basic Gandhi/King principle; a kind of  Judo politic.) 

These past weeks,  President Obama has  hosted a bipartisan Super Bowl party and  two cocktail “parties.”  He’s  bearded the Conservative lion in its den down at Congress.   He offered a stimulus bill with enough tax cuts to raise brows in the pundit community and yet,  Senate Republicans and Conservative Democrats reduced the package  by another $150 billion.

Zero Republicans voted for the first compromise package.

Two or three are expected to vote for the Senate bill.

Has Obama sold our economic future down the tubes for the sake of a few bipartisan pieces of silver?  

Or, has he allowed knee-jerk naysayers with bankrupt economic policies to  dramatically and publicly shoot themselves in  both feet?

Obama’s slated to offer his Recovery Plan this coming Monday.   He wants the Senate to pass the Stimulus Package before that. 

If the Recovery Plan covers all the bases Candidate-Obama trumpeted the past two years, it will include more funds for health care, infrastructure, “greening”  and the consequent job production and training.  By the time the Recovery Plan is unveiled,  the “loyal  Conservative opposition”  will have been marginalized on  their own petards. 

If I sound like a True Believer, eschewing rebellion in the face of  Obama’s vows that, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow”  my reward will come tomorrow,  I apologize and propose this:

If  the Recovery Plan is more of the same  “bipartisan,”  lowest-common-denominator-political-toadying as offered by the Stimulus Package,  then every worker,  wannabe-worker, retiree, wannabe-retiree, student  and wannabe-student needs to march on Washington within the month.  We need to take our tents,  backpacks and firewood for cooking.  

And we must not accede to being penned like cattle behind officially-approved barriers.

10 thoughts on “Bipartisanship: Lowest Common Denominator?

  1. Ann Finneran

    Do Repubs really expect busns peeps would apply “tax code changes” in the stimulus package to wisely invest in infrastructure, esp as they may have less $ now? Pvt investors have too many inherent conflicts of int. to be trusted to invest for USA’s economic interests over their own. Granted $350B, bankers pocketed 5%! Keep control of the $, don’t allow an unknown scenario. Asking us to trust peeps to invest tax cut savings for the good of the nation is either naïve or insults our intelligence.

  2. Liz

    I think some Conservatives fear the result of mega-spending and their concerns should be part of our equations; but some are making craven decisions relative to the 2010 election which certainly aren’t in our interests. The 1968 Poor Peoples’ March (as you know) responded to similar circumstances and resulted in civil rights legislation. (Political self-interest was swayed by the people’s interest.) In the 1930s, there were the “Hoovervilles,” shanty towns where thousands of unemployed workers lived in anything they had materials to build. One of the most famous was on The Mall in D.C. Here are pictures http://www.google.com/search?q=hooverville+&rls=com.microsoft:*&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1
    I know you know all this, Ann. Thankfully, more are willing to learn. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Mary Ann Bukky

    Gotta say all this is way above my detailed thoughts of resolution but in elementary terms… Buffalo Bob would have said “Saddle up your horses boys and round up them cattle before nightfall cuz there ain’t no dinner til the job’s done”

  4. Mary Ann Bukky

    Unfortunately they are “just words” and not resolutions….although I can get the top layer of what the commentary meant…I can’t begin to know what the formula for a successful stimulus package would be…one thing I do know is Rush Limbaugh must have been a grub in a past life…they wreak havoc and devastation.

  5. Skip Mendler

    Hear, hear!

    One would hope that “bipartisanship” would not be a matter of “lowest common denominator” but rather, to borrow another term from high school algebra, based on the “greatest common factors” — the highest ideals that unite us as Americans.

  6. lizbucar Post author

    Thanks for commenting, Skip. Many generations of Americans now know their way to the Mall. That’s a great source of solace. We’ll have to do offices in shifts…

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