Interrupting post-Iowa caucus coverage for a depressing Lame Duck Watch bulletin…
Someone pinch me. Am I dreaming? Is it 2008…or 1993? Because the last time I recall the words “economic stimulus” wafting out of Washington, Bill Clinton was in office and Hillary was, you know, risking her life on First Lady superhero missions. Gack. Now, lame duck president George W. Bush is raiding the cemetery of buried bad ideas and resurrecting the economic stimulus idea. It’s deja voo-doo all over again:
President Bush said Thursday that he was considering whether to propose a stimulus package to shore up the economy, the clearest indication yet of a growing concern inside the White House over rising oil prices, the subprime mortgage crisis and the possibility of recession.
“I’m concerned about people losing their homes and paying a lot for gasoline,” Mr. Bush said in an interview with Reuters…“In terms of any stimulus package, we’re considering all options,” Mr. Bush said.
USAT reports Bush will hold a press conference at 12:30pm today, though he says he won’t be making any final decision on the how, what, and when of the stimulus package until he delivers the State of the Union address later this month.
It would be one thing if “economic stimulus” simply meant tax relief. But in Washington–what with the White House looking for a legacy, the subprime crisis exploding, and “bipartisan consensus” in demand–there’s no way in hell any “economic stimulus” package will win approval without being larded up with gobs of needless, unwarranted spending. I don’t care who’s occupying the White House. “Economic stimulus” is a synonym for Big Government.
House Democrats are already eying “help for state and local governments suffering from the real estate slump” as part of their economic stimulus proposal.
John Edwards has proposed a $25 billion economic stimulus package “of investments in clean energy, job training and unemployment benefits. He said lawmakers should be prepared to allocate another $75 billion in the event of a recession.”
Hillary Clinton’s economic advisor Gene Sperling, who advised Bill Clinton during his failed economic stimulus attempt in the 1990s, is already licking his chops–proposing “a one-time foreclosure-prevention fund” and “relief to states to prevent property tax hikes” among other stimulating measures.
Where will GOP Senators stand? In 1993, they sank Clinton’s bloated economic stimulus plan, which was a hodge-podge of liberal goodies (job training programs, mass transit spending, and even funding for an ice skating warming hut in Connecticut).
Today, there’s only one US Senator on record against a federal housing bailout. One.
The president is crusading for strapped homeowners (who bought more house than they could afford or went bonkers with their home equity) to get government relief–on the backs of responsible homeowners, responsible savers, and responsible taxpayers. He says he’s “concerned about people losing their homes and paying a lot for gasoline.”
Methinks President Bush should be more concerned about the rest of us who’ll be forced to subsidize an inevitable expansion of the welfare state in the name of economic “stimulation.” There’s nothing compassionate or conservative about that.