Kelly Picks a Fight: John Boehner & Crew

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Kelly Picks a Fight: John Boehner & Crew

I'm so riled up over the recalcitrant shenanigans by the Republicans on this stimulus package that I could spit... on John Boehner's shoe. They lost by such huge margins in the past two elections, yet they have the nerve to keep professing that they know what the people want. Their confabulation about tax cuts is unwarranted and misguided. Economists across the board say so.

The Economic Policy Institute created a chart showing the bang generated for every buck of stimulus money. As you can see, the return on dollars spent on things like Food Stamps, Unemployment Benefits and infrastructure spending far surpasses that of tax cuts. Far. And yet tax cuts comprise one-third of the stimulus package with only 18% going to infrastructure.


When you think about it like I have, the fuzzy math is pretty clear. For the millions of unemployed workers, a tax cut does nothing. For the millions of debt-laden families, a tax cut pays down their debt a wee bit. For the millions of solvent-but-not-well-off families, a tax cut boosts their savings a little. Those are solid facts, right there. CNN did a poll last year about the tax rebate checks and found that a mere 21% of Americans planned on actually spending their rebate compared to the 41% who would pay down debt and the 32% who would put it into savings. And those stats were before the worst of the crisis was upon us.

When you deduct those groups from the American population, the people who are left are the well-off families who have no debt and plenty of savings. More than likely, they are the 3% that told CNN they would give the money to charity. To me that means they didn't need the tax rebate to begin with and, therefore, don't really need a tax cut now. And, honestly, while paying down debt and boosting savings are both good things to do, neither helps our ailing economy so I would prefer to have that money spent in higher-yielding ways.

So why are the Republicans displaying such hubris in the face of both facts and electoral losses? Well, one hypothesis I heard posed the other night made more sense to me than most. The idea is that if the GOP weakens the stimulus bill enough, it won't work and the Dems will take the fall for it. Basically, they are playing craps with the U.S. – if not the global – economy in hopes of looking good on the back end.

So, then, why are President Obama and the Democrats so concerned about getting the Repugs on board? I keep hearing talk about Americans wanting bipartisan cooperation and Obama needing to preserve political capital. You know what? Like Rep. Peter DeFazio from Oregon, I'm all for cooperation when the other side is right (or even reasonable) about the matter at hand, but not when they are flat wrong and simply clinging to avarice out of habit at the expense of the rest of us. And political capital will mean very little if we don't turn this mess around.

As always, Rachel Maddow covered the whole mess in a comprehensive, easy-to-understand manner:

Comments [24]

btfan2's picture

CA no argument from me you

CA no argument from me you are 100% correct. This is in less then 2 weeks the glaring inexperience of OBAMA. We need action now he can smooch with the repugnits on some other issue. Remember this is our money not theirs.

The really sad part is none of this "money" is real and what happens when even that farce disappears??

America is crumbling around us, this is just a no brainer. Come on Obama I get it, I just don't GET IT!!

PS yes I do write my congress and senate. Everyone should.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

The bill, HR1, as passed in

The bill, HR1, as passed in the US House of Representatives, can be read here:

I am also in possession of the CBO report on HR1, which you can obtain here:

I recommend the PDF version (easier to zip back and forth through).

I think we are all relying way too much here on MSM's interpretation of this bill, especially in light of the fact that MSNBC, CNN, and FNC, along with many other media outlets, released a bogus story last week about a non-existent CBO report that painted a very negative picture regarding HR1. I strongly suspect that is where MSM is pulling these numbers from, a bogus story that was first released by an unidentified AP correspondent.

For more info on that little side story:

Or just Google "Bogus CBO Report HR1" (154 links), and choose the one you trust.

Way more money is going into infrastructure, and most of it will be in the next two years. This is a long term plan, not some microwavable quick fix plan. MSM hates this plan, because their advertisers and corporate masters hate it.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

Then the United States

Then the United States economy goes bye-bye, just a couple of years later than if we do nothing, and we take most of the world with us.

There will be short term economic consequences to such a massive spending bill, especially on top of the trillion dollar giveaway to the banks (we still have no clue what happened to that money), over the next five years or so, mostly in the form of inflation and foreign reluctance over the US Dollar or to finance US debt. But, if done right, it could, over the long run, undo all the harm caused by the Friedman acolytes in the GOP over the last 30 or so years.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

I am sooo in the wrong line

I am sooo in the wrong line of work!

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

Obama also campaigned on

Obama also campaigned on bipartisanship, an impossible dream at best when dealing with the GOP. They believe bipartisanship means they get everything they want without any argument. The Dem's represent the "Haves," the GOP the "Have Mores."

Eventually, Obama will snap to the fact that the GOP has no intention of working with him, just like Bill Clinton did. Obama will be faced with a choice, become like FDR or like Clinton. FDR took his case to the public, Clinton just gave up and handed the GOP most of what they wanted, hoping for a few scraps to come back his way.

While I would wish for the former path, I suspect we will see the latter. Obama wants what every first term president wants, a second term.

You want the changes promised? Then hold Obama's feet, and those of your elected Congress critters, to the fire. Call them, write them, email them, write letters to your local newspapers, call local talk shows. Remind them that they work for you, not the other way around. Make sure they understand that, come election time, you will have their voting record, along with your ballot, in hand at the voting booth.

This is the way the neocons and religious extremists have been doing it for decades now, and it works (as we've seen these last few decades). Time we adopt their tactics, and use them to our benefit.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

The tax cuts Boner (also

The tax cuts Boner (also intentional misspelling) wants is for the wealthy, part of the old "trickle down" theory of economics over the last three decades.

While tax cuts do stimulate some economic growth, that growth is almost always very small, and very temporary. Even then, those cuts would have to target the middle class and working poor. Tax cuts also would do nothing about unemployment or the mass exodus of entire industries from the US to other countries with very lax environmental and labor regulations. Tax cuts also would have very little meaning, if any, for those out of work right now, since they currently have no income to tax.

But, when you spend money on jobs and education programs, the money invested comes right back, many times over, for many generations. Rebuilding, repairing, and expanding our infrastructure, neglected for three decades, would have huge economic benefits for about a century. This would create jobs, and get people back to work, which would increase tax revenues, consumer spending, and begin the process of restoring our domestic economy.

To paraphrase an old cliche... Give someone a fish, and they're hungry a few hours later. Teach them to fish, and they never go hungry again.

It took three decades of Friedman-style economic policies for the US to get into the hole it is in today. Short term fixes simply will not do. We have to go with long term and eventually self-sustainable plans.

mysticsmb's picture


THIS JUST IN: The House passed the stimulus, but NOT ONE Republican voted for it! They got their damn tax cuts and they STILL didn't vote for it. Again, as I said in another comment below, I think Obama is making a public show of a good faith outreach to the Repubs and if they rebuff him (as they just did by not voting for the stimulus) they look like partisan idiots--giving Obama more power down the line.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

"them that's got..... shall

"them that's got..... shall get, them that's not..... shall lose."


minniesota's picture

Kelly, we finally agree on an

Kelly, we finally agree on an aspect of tamales! Yes, it's better to not have too much of a good thing.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Lezbeth's picture

It's no surprise to me that

It's no surprise to me that Boner (misspelling intentional) has a hard-on for Obama. There's nothing to lose for Don Quixote to stick it to a windmill or two, taunting the president to drop to his knees--political bullying.

Thanks for showing the benefits percentages. I'm not sure what they mean. I'm assuming the numbers translate into more people keeping their jobs which sustains a tax base. It makes no sense to decrease taxes at the same time the tax base is drying up through job losses.

The campaign-inspired infrastructure plan may have been naive as the Pres starts seeing realistically how fast and how big the job-loss snowball is growing. People landing in the streets by thousands and not being able to feed themselves and their families, much less, states going bankrupt because of the depleted unemployment insurance funds is catastrophic. It's the question of whether you put a new roof on the house or feed the family and tax cuts make absolutely no sense.

Kelly McCartney's picture

I heart Robert Reich, the

I heart Robert Reich, the little genius.

And I think saving and creating jobs carry equal weight. That's why the bill should be heavier on the spending and lighter on Minnie's tax cut. You don't need that extra tamale anyway.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Lezbeth's picture

I was thinking this, too.

I was thinking this, too. Calif is going broke and won't be paying some of its bills, counting on some of the "stimulus" package to get it out of the hole. Infrastructure spending gets bumped down a notch as vendors for govt. contracts aren't paid and have to lay of workers. What's better, saving the jobs that are still there or creating new ones?

Kelly McCartney's picture

I heard that (or a similar)

I heard that (or a similar) analysis about the speed, but I'm sticking with Rachel and Pete on this one. I'm pretty sure different municipalities have projects sitting around that could get off the ground quickly. Also, looking at the chart, food stamps and unemployment are huge bangs that are immediate. Pretty sure those count as infrastructure-type spendings.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Kelly McCartney's picture

Was it that much? Maybe I was

Was it that much? Maybe I was thinking of the Dept of Interior guy's new bathroom that was only 1/4 mill.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

mysticsmb's picture

Kelly, I'm totally with you

Kelly, I'm totally with you on this and glad you've highlighted the spending vs. tax cut issue. I did, however, see an analysis yesterday by ABC's financial reporter Betsy Stark that said that although spending generates a bigger bang for the buck, tax cuts get into the system quicker. Rachel's analysis with DeFazio seems to dispute this by arguing that there are local projects ready to go immediately if they received the funding.

I'm hoping some of Obama's bi-partisan outreach is partly window-dressing that earns him good will with the public by delivering on his campaign promises to change the tone in Washington. If he makes a good faith effort now he can draw on it down the road when he has to overrule the Repugs. It also offers him some cover as he breaks so decisively with Bush and the Repugs on foreign policy (first overseas call was to the Palestinian president and first television interview was given to an Arab station).

minniesota's picture

It's so sad. Layoffs and

It's so sad. Layoffs and hiring freezes all around. I heard an hour long program over the noon hour on Minnesota Public Radio. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich gave a speech recently. When answering questions at the end, he said the federal government needs to give a huge infusion of cash to states and localities (paraphrasing):

1. The projected almost $400 billion shortfall for states and localities for 2009-2011 is a huge fiscal drag on the economy, which has the opposite effect of a stimulus.

2. The shortfall means state and local governments are forced to cut jobs and services or they are raising taxes.

3. It would help ensure that money gets to the people who need it like the poor, lower middle class, and others who are vulnerable.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Grace Moon's picture

his office cost 1.2

his office cost 1.2 million
he paid the designer 800k

fuck him, it should all come out of his pocket.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Kelly McCartney's picture

At least John Thain says

At least John Thain says he'll pay Merrill Lynch back for the office renovations that cost like $250k of our money.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Kelly McCartney's picture

If you do, will you hire

If you do, will you hire me?

And yes, I believe Maddow includes some things like that in her 18% calculation because only 7.7% (or so) is for roads and such.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Kelly McCartney's picture

Of course he does! We love

Of course he does! We love Krugman. He's one of the good guys. And, yeah, the Dems have bent over on this one backing down the spending to boost the tax cuts for the GOP. I sort of wish they would just say Suck It to the Repugs. I don't get how the bastards can say a tax cut creates a job. I mean, is Minnie hiring?

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

btfan2's picture

Kelly I'm so pissed it's


I'm so pissed it's hard to even type this. First that old definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. IT IS INSANITY!! Second I hope this is not a portent of things to come with Obama, first his choice of Summers just sucks wind period, second listening to this tool sucks wind even more.

These are the very people who got us in this mess and he wants to let them feed on what's left of the carcass while those who put Obama in office can continue to root through the garbage. What happened to all that rhetoric during the campaign, infrastructure, education, schools, environment yada, yada. Come on Obama not all of us have a short attention span.

You don't have to make nice with these jokers, they could care less about this country. They have proven that over and over and over. They feed themselves at out table steal from us and then treat us with disdain because we let them.

We elected YOU to CHANGE all this not to jump right on the gravy train with them. FUCK FUCK FUCK...

He doesn't need the fucking repugnits he needs to get this country back on track with or without them. No concessions period.

"We need to put America back to work" - OBAMA your fucking words now DO IT!!!!

minniesota's picture

Would I get a tax cut? Oops,

Would I get a tax cut? Oops, that's the wrong question to ask, right?

Can "infrastructure" be libraries and archives, as well as the roads and bridges we travel to visit and use them?

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

peacekitty's picture

I'm concerned about the 850

I'm concerned about the 850 Billion dollar economic stimilus package.

What if it doesn't work?

"Fight Prime Time. Read a Book"

Grace Moon's picture

Kurgman seconds your

Kurgman seconds your motion,

and now i'm a little worried about Defazio's assessment of summers. its not even a good stimulus plan, with infrastructure only getting 18%?!?

tweet tweet @gracemoon