Saturday, February 28, 2009

Frak Bipartisanship, Liberals Rule on Stimulus and Budget

In the spirit of bipartisanship, Obama
sought Republican support for his $825 billion
economic recovery package. He included $300
billion in tax breaks to appeal to the diehard
supply-siders. His reward on Jan. 27, after three
meetings with GOP leaders, was the pronouncement
by House Republican Leader John Boehner that GOP
House members would oppose the stimulus. They
complained that House Appropriations Chairman
David Obey (D-Wis.) has larded the bill with
items such as $90 billion in aid to states for
Medicaid, $30 billion to subsidize health
insurance for people who lose their jobs, $20
billion to accelerate new health care information
technology and $1 billion to renovate community
health centers. The GOP disparaged $15.6 billion
to increase college Pell Grants, $6 billion to
extend broadband Internet access to rural areas
and $4 billion to help communities buy and
improve distressed properties. Funding for other
worthy public works, such as mass transit
projects, lost out to the tax cuts...

The GOP instinct is to follow the
reasoning of Rush Limbaugh, who admitted on his
radio show that he hopes Obama fails. Obama is
giving Republicans the chance to be part of the
solution. If Republicans try to obstruct his
program, Obama has clear majorities in the House
and Senate. Dems will have 59 votes in the Senate
when Landslide Al Franken (DFL-Minn.) finally
claims his seat after former Sen. Norm Coleman
exhausts his appeals. Republicans can try a
filibuster, with no votes to spare, but then it
will be clear who is trying to sabotage the
recovery. - from The PROGRESSIVE POPULIST, - A big green cheer for the stimulus bill. - Obama's new budget priorities - elections have consequences.

Political Animal - OBAMA TO LOBBYISTS: BRING IT ON....

Anonymous Liberal - The GOP is the Free Lunch Party
The Republican party, over the last 20 to 30 years has become the party of Free Lunch. When it comes to domestic policy, the modern Republican party has really only one idea: cutting taxes. No matter what problems the country faces, this is their answer. Cut income taxes. Cut the estate tax. Cut the capital gains tax. If the cut disproportionately benefits the rich, all the better.

And how do they sell these cuts to the America people? They claim that they are costless. In fact, we're told that if we cut taxes, it will cause the economy to grow at such a fevered pace that at the end of the day, we'll actually have more revenue to work with. In other words, free lunch. It doesn't matter that no reputable economists (even the conservative ones) actually believe that tax cuts pay for themselves.
Think Progress - Conservative leaders embracing "We Hope Obama Fails" (and that thus the country fails, as "we got ours Jack.")

Think there is nothing in the stimulus package for you?

* A "making work pay" refundable tax credit championed by Obama of up to $400 per individual and $800 for couples in 2009 and 2010. It is calculated at a rate of 6.2 percent of earned income and is phased out for individuals with adjusted incomes over $75,000 and couples with incomes over $150,000.

* A one-time payment of $250 to Social Security beneficiaries, railroad retirees and veterans receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. State government retirees not eligible for Social Security would also get the $250 payment.

* Increases the earned income tax credit for low-income workers with three or more children.

* Increases eligibility for the refundable child tax credit to more low-income workers. The bill reduces the income floor to $3,000 in 2009 and 2010 from the current floor of $8,500.

* A new $2,500 tax credit for college education expenses. The credit phases out for individuals earning more than $80,000 and couples with incomes over $160,000.
Open Left - Obama's Budget Progressive? - Not on the military.
At current levels, short of mobilizing the country for total war (which I'm sure many conservatives would like), it is almost impossible to increase military spending further. [Emphasis mine.]

The Obama administration, and congressional Democrats, like Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin (D-MI), currently seem to be focused on reducing defense spending by cutting back on Iraq and expensive weapons systems (especially missile defense). However, if we are going to truly re-organize the federal government away from the Republican National Security State model, we eventually have to target the size of the military and also reduce our overseas base commitments. As such, while I applaud efforts to curtail weapons spending and troop levels in Iraq, we must also push for an overall reduction in military spending that goes beyond such short-term fixes. There is some real support for this in Congress, as demonstrated by the increasing votes for The Progressive Budget and by Representative Barney Frank's continued leadership on the issue
John Nichols - The Nation - Shouldn't MoveOn Oppose Obama on Afghanistan?

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