Thursday, January 17, 2008

Note to Congressional Democrats

(This means you, Senators Edwards and Clinton.)

If Congress passes a stimulus package full of new programs and all sorts of bells and whistles and tinsel and lights and stars and angels and golden balls with glitter on them, one that President Bush is almost certain to veto, and one that he, given his ideological preferences, could very easily justify vetoing, and indeed would have a hard time justifying singing signing, then it will be your fault, not his fault, if the recession turns out more severe than expected. I will hold you responsible. I suspect that voters will hold you responsible too.

If, on the other hand, Congress passes a simple if imperfect stimulus program that works on the revenue side -- say an across-the-board one-time tax rebate -- one that President Bush may not be happy with but will have a hard time justifying a veto, then if he does end up vetoing it, that will be his fault -- and all the more reason to elect a Democratic president. And if he signs it, well, I guess you'll just have to take the risk that the stimulus will actually work and that it will make things look a little better on election day than they otherwise would. A non-recessionary economy in 2008 -- seems to me that's a risk worth taking.

[Update: I should proofread these posts better. I don't think we're going to be seeing "Recession -- The Musical" any time soon.]

[Update2: ...and I should check my facts, too. Brock points out in the comments section that John Edwards is no longer in the Senate. Edwards does seem to have his own stimulus plan, though, and I hope he isn't thinking that it can wait until 2009 to be implemented. I guess I should include Senator Obama in my warning, too, but his suggestions have come closer to the sort of thing of which President Bush would have trouble justifying a veto, so I kind of felt he didn't need to be warned.]

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Blogger Chester said...

So, if the Democrats suggest an option that gets vetoed, nothing happens, and the recession runs its course without government intervention. If the recession is then worse than expected, isn't that due to a failure in the expectations, and not because of the absence of a government solution coming to the rescue?

In your scenario, I can see how it may be their fault that it didn't turn out better than it otherwise could have. But to say it would be their fault if the recession turns out to be worse than expected just seems wrong.

Thu Jan 17, 06:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger Brock said...

Did you mean to write "Senators Obama and Clinton"? John Edwards retired from the Senate in 2004.

Thu Jan 17, 07:08:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Betcha GWB will be inclined to veto anything that (a) doesn't make his earlier cuts permanent, and (b) doesn't give the largest cuts to the highest-income taxpayers (then again, past performance is no guarantee of future behavior - but you'd be a fool to ignore it.)

Fri Jan 18, 02:32:00 PM EST  
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