Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My God, the Republicans in Congress are just clueless, clueless, clueless. They're objecting to ObamaStimulusII, which is fine, but they are doing so by focusing on Obama's plan to 'use' TARP money.

Repeat after me, repeat after me, repeat after me, the American people do not care where the money comes from, they only care about whether it will help the economy... and, in particular, their particular slice of the economy.

Where the money comes from is an abstract issue that does not resonate with the American public. They don't know - nor do they care about - the particulars of federal spending. While they dislike the concept of federal deficits and the amount of federal debt, those are issues that percolate somewhere in the back of their minds, secondary to their primary concerns about their jobs, houses, health care and retirement.

Thus, at best, hearing Republicans prattle on about the mechanics of how Obama is introducing Round Two makes the public wonder what the Republicans are muttering about, and at worst, it gives the Democrats ammunition for their claim that the GOP is out of touch with the concerns of ordinary voters (there's a reason that teabaggers aren't identifying with the GOP).

Nor does it do the GOP any good to argue that, having botched the first round of stimulus, Obama isn't to be trusted with a second round. It is fine to point out that the economy is in far worse shape after the enactment of Obama's first stimulus (as well as far worse than what Obama claimed would be if the stimulus was passed)... but, with the American people fearful about the future, they aren't going to accept that Obama has forfeited the opportunity to propose a corrective round.

The GOP needs to object on the basis that IT ISN'T GOING TO HELP!

Argument One: even though Obama might package it differently, Round Two is going to be the same as Round One, and as we all know, it is crazy to do the same thing but expect a different result.

Argument Two: Round Two isn't going to help the public; as with Round One, it is designed to benefit government workers and favored constituencies. Throwing billions of dollars to the states isn't going to help the private sector, nor is spending even more money on government infrastructure; neither is going to encourage consumers (at least those not employed by the state) to go out and start spending.

Argument Three: A big reason for the fear and uncertainty is the liberal anti-business agenda liberals are pushing on Capitol Hill. The GOP needs to play off public opposition to Obamacare not just to defeat Obamacare but to also derail ObamaStimulusII. The GOP also needs to play off the threats posed by the environmental mischief the liberals are pulling. They need to tell the liberals to stop scaring banks from loaning money. With higher taxes, energy costs and fees and, despite the claims of the liberals, higher health care costs all on the near term horizon, what sane businessman is going to go and start hiring? How crazy does a consumer have to be to increase their spending over last year's level? The GOP needs to demand that the liberals back off taxing and scaring the American economy into a depression.

Argument Four: The GOP needs to present some straightforward ways of boosting business and consumer confidence. And that's the key, business and consumer confidence that the future will be better than it is today. It doesn't matter how low tax rates are or how much money gets dumped into the economy, if the public views those as gimmicks or only temporary, they're not going to come out of their shell. Banks won't start lending until they think their customers will have the profits to pay back the loans. Consumers won't start spending until they're reasonably sure they will not only have a job but that their pay won't be squeezed by well-meaning but ultimately dangerous and counter-productive liberal programs.