Are you watching this outrageous attack on Republicans? Are you buying that we need to spend more than we've ever spent before so we can save ourselves?
James Taranto has something to say about it:
The so-called stimulus bill may not do much for the economy, but it's certainly stimulating a lot of laughter, as its supporters are reduced to arguing essentially that it would be irresponsible not to waste boatloads of taxpayer money. We do not exaggerate. Consider this article by Michael Hirsh of Newsweek:
Obama's desire to begin a "post-partisan" era may have backfired. In his eagerness to accommodate Republicans and listen to their ideas over the past week, he has allowed the GOP to turn the haggling over the stimulus package into a decidedly stale, Republican-style debate over pork, waste and overspending. This makes very little economic sense when you are in a major recession that only gets worse day by day. Yes, there are still some very legitimate issues with a bill that's supposed to be "temporary" and "targeted"–among them, large increases in permanent entitlement spending, and a paucity of tax cuts that will prompt immediate spending.
Even so, Obama has allowed Congress to grow embroiled in nitpicking over efficiency when the central debate should be about whether the package is big enough. When you are dealing with a stimulus of this size, there are going to be wasteful expenditures and boondoggles. There's no way anyone can spend $800 to $900 billion quickly without waste and boondoggles. It comes with the Keynesian territory. This is an emergency; the normal rules do not apply.
Who is this Michael Hirsh, who has elevated unrestrained spending of the people's money to a high principle? Here's his bio:
Michael Hirsh covers international affairs for Newsweek, reporting on a range of topics from Homeland Security to postwar Iraq. He co-authored the November 3, 2003 cover story, "Bush's $87 Billion Mess," about the Iraq reconstruction plan. The issue was one of three that won the 2004 National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
The bill for "Bush's mess" is less than the margin of error in reckoning the cost of the "emergency" legislation about which Hirsh now chides lawmakers for "nitpicking over efficiency."
Blogger Josh Marshall, meanwhile, weighs in with another novel argument:
The other key into the current debate is that the Republican position is ominously similar to their position on global warming or, for that matter, evolution. The discussion of what to do on the Democratic side tracks more or less with textbook macroeconomics, while Republican argument track either with tax cut monomania or rhetorical claptrap intended to confuse. It's true that macro-economics doesn't make controlled experiments possible. And economists can't speak to these issues with certainty. But in most areas of our lives, when faced with dire potential consequences, we put our stock with scientific or professional consensus where it exists, as it does here. Only in cases where it goes against Republican political interests or economic interests of money-backers do we prefer the schemes of yahoos and cranks to people who study the stuff for a living.
Shut up and spend–it's science!
In fact, Marshall's style of argument is the antithesis of science, which is a rigorous process of open inquiry, not an appeal to authority, even the authority of "the best and the brightest." These categories are easily confused when the subject has to do with the natural sciences, as in the debates over evolution and global warmism. But at the suggestion that Congress ought to spend nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer money because science demands it, one can only laugh–although if Congress enacts the bill, it'll be the costliest laugh in history.
Especially because President Obama himself, in a Washington Post op-ed, admits that the so-called stimulus is not just about stimulating the economy in response to an emergency:
This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending–it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education.
If we are really in an emergency, and "science" tells us that we need to spend money now in order to deal with it, why not just do that and deal with the long-term agenda in the long term? Is it irresponsible to question a new president who seems to be cynically using a crisis in order to grab new power and huge sums of money for the federal government? We'd say it's irresponsible not to.
But this wouldn't be complete without a shot at the now second worst President in history, George Bush. Obama is doing exactly what Bush never did – he's taking his case to America – badly, but America won't think so, at least not for a while.
Bush failed to let the people know of the pending collapse, as well as so many developments about the war, Katrina… and everything else, really, and he was criticized for his secrecy, when in fact, he was simply doing virtually nothing.