But the part that really got me was Broder saying that we need “the best ideas from both parties.”The Republicans are really pissing me off. They have no legislative power, but they continue to play the media like a fiddle. Democrats control the White House, the Senate, and the House, but the great "liberal" media has had twice as many Republicans as Democrats on t.v. discussing the stimulus package.
You see, this isn’t a brainstorming session — it’s a collision of fundamentally incompatible world views. If one thing is clear from the stimulus debate, it’s that the two parties have utterly different economic doctrines. Democrats believe in something more or less like standard textbook macroeconomics; Republicans believe in a doctrine under which tax cuts are the universal elixir, and government spending is almost always bad.
And the Republicans are singing the same song as always: tax cuts! Wait, they're singing that other song, too: the experts are wrong! It's so obvious! So what if basically all the scientists in the world say that anthropogenic global warming is happening? All you need is common sense to tell you that's a lie! What do those stupid scientists know?
Now economics is a much softer "science" than climatology, it's true. But it's not like economists are dumber than your average television pundit. They're smart, and they base their opinions on data. And when the data change, their opinions change.
Republicans, on the other hand? Different data, same opinion. Economy booming? Tax cuts! Gas prices rising? Tax cuts! Economy tanking? Tax cuts! Two wars? Tax cuts!
Another article by Krugman, called Bad Faith Economics:
As the debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan’s opponents aren’t arguing in good faith. Conservatives really, really don’t want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly don’t want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending.
Some of these arguments are obvious cheap shots. John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services — and called it a plan to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives.”
But the obvious cheap shots don’t pose as much danger to the Obama administration’s efforts to get a plan through as arguments and assertions that are equally fraudulent but can seem superficially plausible to those who don’t know their way around economic concepts and numbers. So as a public service, let me try to debunk some of the major antistimulus arguments that have already surfaced. Any time you hear someone reciting one of these arguments, write him or her off as a dishonest flack.
Next, write off anyone who asserts that it’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.
Here’s how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets — and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.
The point is that nobody really believes that a dollar of tax cuts is always better than a dollar of public spending. Meanwhile, it’s clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts — and therefore costs less per job created (see the previous fraudulent argument) — because a large fraction of any tax cut will simply be saved.
This suggests that public spending rather than tax cuts should be the core of any stimulus plan. But rather than accept that implication, conservatives take refuge in a nonsensical argument against public spending in general.
Obama preemptively compromised with the Republicans by providing huge tax cuts as part of the stimulus package. In return, he got nothing. ZERO Republican votes in the House. Let's hope he stops pretending that the Republicans are acting in good faith or have any good ideas at all sooner rather than later. There's no sense in weakening the stimulus, and therefore the economy, to appease a bunch of know-nothing dogmatists with no actual power.
I've leave you with a quote from the genius just voted RNC Chairman:
You and I know that in the history of mankind and womankind, government—federal, state or local—has never created one job. It’s destroyed a lot of them.
Clearly a rational man well-versed in economics and history.