Here We Go Again: Clueless in the Capital Goes Bipartisan

February 11, 2010
By John

I Wanted to Write About Something Else, But They Gave Me No Choice

According to the New York Times today, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Finance Committee, and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the committee’s  senior Republican, have agreed on the elements on yet another fake stimulus bill that they will toss before a blind, desperate to ‘do something about jobs’ and ill-informed Congress this coming week.

Baucus and Grassley: Will Montana and Iowa Please Remember?

The new bill – the third in series of misguided and wasteful economic recovery programs – will include, as this column predicted a few weeks ago:

  • Tax credits (payroll tax holidays) for ‘new jobs’ provided to the unemployed.   As I outlined in the Rough Truths column entitled “Tried and failed: The Futility of a Jobs Tax Credit” (2/01/10), there is absolutely no reason to expect any material increase in employment due to a one-time tax spiff of this type.  It’s ridiculous on its face, and suggests these two Titans of Congress have no idea whatsoever what motivates work or investment.
  • An additional $1,000 income tax credit for employers keeping new employees on the payroll for a year.  That is so pathetic I don’t really want to comment.  It will do nothing, or yield a lot of contorted behavior by employers to get it, or both.
  • Additional federal subsidies for local public works projects.  We have about $500-billion in unspent Stimulus II money (Congress’ disastrous plan from last year).  So why exactly does the Federal government need to add more liabilities to our national balance sheet when they haven’t been able to begin spending most of what they’ve already funded, and when local governments everywhere are at risk of going bankrupt?  Wouldn’t this be yet another debt bomb waiting to go off?  And moreover, why does anyone think building skateboard parks and public buildings creates wealth?  Don’t they just confiscate private funds that could be used to fund recurring business, and use it to build monoliths to the Lilliputian levels of economic and Constitutional ignorance of our leaders instead?
  • Extend unemployment and health insurance subsidy payments to the long-term unemployed.  I guess I can’t argue with this – when you’re doing everything you can to destroy private employment, you might as well throw a few crumbs to the vanquished.
  • There will be more.  The bill will likely end up costing north of $100-billion this year when the other Congressional Chieftains have sweetened it up.  And it will surely cost even more over time when it joins what the WSJ today called “the Eternal Stimulus” of future budget baselines increases.

What Does Stimulus III Tell Us About the Future?

As I read about this bill and the rhetoric around it, a few Rough Truths emerge.

Congress Back in its Cups: Bipartisan Binge Resumes!

  • A recent Rasmussen poll showing 75% of Americans are angry resonates.  We know this new plan isn’t going to work.  We just want them to stop spending, and they just won’t.  Government destroys wealth and jobs.  We get it, they don’t.  But as Harry Reid said today, they ‘need to do something about jobs’.  Now, apparently.  So I guess we have to expect the drunken fools to keep tripping over the same stump – it’s just what they do.
  • ‘Bipartisanship’ for its own sake is dangerous. But bipartisanship leading to really bad ideas is the norm.  We’d like to think bipartisanship would lead to a search for common ground around the best ideas both sides could offer.  Why can’t we find a few of those instead?  Or aren’t there any?
  • The public may have won the fight to kill Obamacare, but the war continues.  While the Republicans were late to the (Tea) Party, they ultimately did the right thing and stood up against that stink bomb.  You’d think they might have gotten the message that Government is NOT the solution we seek.  You’d think they’d understand we’re not looking to have politicians just ‘do something’ as the President keeps insisting.   The public understands that lower taxes, less regulation, a secure dollar and less spending will do more to help the economy to recover than anything government can do through ‘targeted programs’.  Therefore I cannot fathom why any so-called conservative would immediately give back the high ground they just recovered to vote for more of this excremental silliness.   It’s breathtaking in its shallowness.
  • It is urgent that we don’t just toss out Congress this November.  That it’s going to happen is nearly a given at this point.  But replacing a room full of dullard Democrats with a room full of dullard Republicans (the people Bob Dole once prophetically called ‘Tax Collectors for the Welfare State”) will look like a Faustian bargain by next May if we don’t put the right kinds of candidates in their place.  Conservatives, independents, tea partiers and anyone seeking real change needs to get involved in primaries this Spring.

Is A Liberty Flagpole is Going Up Near You?

They must challenge candidates who would support a lighter version of this march to national socialism. We need to nominate people in both parties who are committed to Constitutional governance, to individual freedom, and to policies that actually have a track record of working.   We can argue the details about liberal vs. conservative ideas later – let’s first agree on what we’re going to allow the government to do, and make sure whatever it does has a chance of working first.  The Founders gave us a good start – let’s start there.

Legislation We Can Get Behind

If we must be saddled with more of this foolishness, I would like to challenge an enterprising Congressperson to propose an amendment up that requires all federally funded, subsidized or guaranteed structures have the following poem engraved above the main public entrance, and also next to any dedication engraving or plate (the one with the politician’s names on it).  It should be written in letters at least twice as big as those on the plate, and readable from 20’ away (with corrected vision, of course).


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on My Works, ye Mighty, and Despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Now that’s Change We Can Believe In.

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4 Responses to “ Here We Go Again: Clueless in the Capital Goes Bipartisan ”

  1. Grocery Clerk on February 12, 2010 at 2:36 am

    O.K. Primaries, this spring. I agree. And that’s over the next 3 – 4 months, which means getting involved starts months ago. But immediately will have to do.

    First we take back our own respective political parties.
    Most Democrats can’t be happy that the Socialists have taken over their party and are using it to take over our country.
    And most Republicans can’t be happy that their representatives couldn’t define a republic and their duties to it if they were on the ‘Millionaire’ quiz show. I know, they’d never even show up for something where the best-case-scenario was ‘only’ a million dollars. Also, they’d never risk our finding out that they aren’t any smarter than a 5th-grader.

    So we need a no-holds-barred list of questions to vet these people with.
    Ask them how, specificaly, they intend to make their position less powerful.
    Ask them what they want to do after they ’serve’ in office.
    If it sounds like something to look forward to, like Washington yearning for Mt. Vernon, you just might have a contender.
    Or another damn good liar.

  2. JoJoTo4 on February 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

    They want to give tax breaks to employers so they can keep new employees on for one more year. Where do they think the money comes from, to fill a position, they have no work for. This sounds about right, it got us where we are today and we are all doing great, the economy has never been better, health care is affordable, no one has lost their home, no one is hungry, everyone in this United States is so freaking happy and prosperous! I wonder; what’s the color of the sky in their world! Well at least they received a break from all the hard work they have been doing for us because of all the snow!! I wonder if Al Gore owns a snow shovel or plow, maybe he can help dig some of these hard working politicians out so they can get back to work to see who they can blame next. He’s not working today because he can’t get to the global warming conference, because 60% of the plows in D.C. are broken from being over worked! Yet this all makes sense to him? Maybe we should have them take a test to become a politician to see if they are qualified, oh dopey me that would require more committees, years of investigation at taxpayer expense, they would only figure out a way to blame someone else for their incompetency, WHAT WAS I THINKING! The polls show that 75% of Americans are angry, this is misleading also, because the other 25% didn’t get to take the poll, they were to sick, homeless, snowed in, still standing in the soup line and the list goes on and on! They want to see angry let me have 15 seconds in a room alone with each of these hard working politicians I’ll show them angry! Keep up the great work John!

  3. Grocery Clerk on February 13, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Dear JoJo;
    Tell us how you really feel! Would you like to buy one of my bumper stickers? (mentioned in my response to “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”)
    No, I’m not mocking you – I quite agree. These people had better wake up to the anger – rightious anger – they are stirring.

  4. often wrong on February 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

    They’re going down, down, down. (Song by someone, not sure who). But it’s true.

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