Chess games are usually measured by their cost or benefit in relation to losing one pawn. Just looking at the board on the basis of a pawn for pawn exchange is much like playing checkers. Sometimes you can sacrifice a little bit of material and end up in a position to win the game as a result, even if you are behind in material. This is called a gambit.
Obama and Pelosi attempted to deal with Republicans, who then cast zero votes for the Stimulus in the House. The Senate got its usual narcissistic Old WASP Male attention time, and now it’s done with three Republicans scrambling to be the two that form a coalition with Democrats, leaving the Broken Record GOP making motions for a trillion dollars in corporate tax cuts.
Then, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (!) backs the stimulus. Obama goes across country and people hear about the woman living in her car and Caterpillar’s pledge to rehire workers it’s about to lay off if the bill passes. “Centrists” paid for their time in the spotlight by being hit with tough criticism from both side. Have we ever heard so much trash about Ben Nelson before?
That’s all brilliant, but it’s not as brilliant as this part (despite what it might look at upon first read, this is nor sarcasm): the stimulus is nowhere big enough. It’s maybe 33-50% of what’s necessary to fix the problem. How can I say that with so much confidence? Because the states are mostly screwed. California alone is making $17 billion in cuts. And so, why is this brilliant? Because the Republicans are now branded as the party that made this too small. Believe me, when the economy doesn’t come back, we’re not going to blame the stimulus. If things don’t get better, people are going to demand more, not less. Even Democratish tax cuts (middle class income tax cuts as opposed to estate taxes) pretty much only benefit working people. If there is 15% unemployment, that ain’t going to cut it.
And next time Obama can say we’re not going to deal with them much because they limited it too much last time. The fact that two weeks were spent negotiating with just three or four Republicans—well, next time, after Al Franken gets in, it will only take 1. And guess what? Prisoner’s Dillema time. “Well, Arlen, we’d love to work with you, but we only need one more vote. So, if you can make us a better offer than Susan or Olympia, we’d appreciate your support. Do you want to be on the wrong side of this when you’re up for reelection? The right wing isn’t going to save you. They’re going to try to primary you again. If you don’t get some crossover support, you’re toast.”
And in the end he mostly got what he wanted. Obama 5, Congressional Dems 2, Senate Dems 0, Senate Republicans -3, House GOP -6.
We’re not at the bottom yet. A few states will probably have to go bankrupt for serious action to be taken. And, oh boy, when we hear that happened because of Hoover economics. Wow.
I know it’s early and I know there are things that have been bumpy the first two weeks, but they will be forgotten. Obama will get to appoint 2 Supreme Court justices in his first term. I think we may get 60 senators in 2010. I think that means we might get healthcare in 2011.