GOP played politics on stimulus bill, and lost anyway

Arlen Specter was one of just three Senate Republicans to buck his party and vote in favor of President Obama’s stimulus package. After he announced his decision, he says, a fellow GOP senator approached him in private to offer congratulations.

When asked, however, that unknown senator declined to join Specter because he was too afraid of drawing a primary challenge. He was glad somebody was doing the right thing, but he wouldn’t risk it himself.

As Specter put it, “there are a lot of people in the Republican caucus who are glad to see this action taken without their fingerprints, without their participation. … I think a good part of the caucus agrees with the person I quoted.”

In the House, of course, not a single Republican voted in favor of the stimulus bill, a fact the GOP celebrated as a great victory. As Republican Party chairman Michael Steele later told the House GOP, “The goose egg that you laid on the president’s desk was just beautiful.”

Given such remarks, it’s pretty clear that Republicans in Congress decided to approach the stimulus measure not on its merits but as a matter of party discipline; they voted not as individuals with minds of their own, but in lockstep, as a party following a herd instinct. Before the vote, the small number of GOP members who had expressed support for the stimulus or were waffling were pressured not to betray their fellow party members, and the pressure worked.

In parliamentary systems such as Great Britain, of course, such party-line votes are common, but until the early ’90s, they were relatively rare in Congress. That changed when Newt Gingrich became House minority whip and began to use party-line votes as a way to define the GOP brand to the American public.

In 1993, for instance, President Clinton proposed a major tax increase to help bring down soaring deficits and restore fiscal confidence on Wall Street. The proposal passed, but without a single Republican vote in the House. After that vote, Gingrich made a prediction about its economic impact:

“We’ll be in a recession by next year, and I think [Clinton’s] tax increase will increase the deficit by putting Americans out of work.”

In economic terms, Gingrich could not have been more mistaken. The deficit did not increase; it fell annually from $300 billion in 1993, reaching surplus in 1999. The average unemployment rate —- 6.9 percent in 1993 —- also declined in every subsequent year of Clinton’s presidency.

However, if Gingrich’s stand was bad economics, it proved to be good politics. The party unity they displayed helped define the Republicans as tax-cutters and the Democrats as tax-hikers in the public eye, contributing significantly to the surprise Republican takeover of the House in 1994. That’s the model House Republicans are trying to emulate.

However, there’s another example that may prove more telling. In late 1995, Gingrich again used party discipline to block passage of a federal budget and forcing a shutdown of the government. The American people were not amused, and this time they sided not with the Republicans but with Clinton. Gingrich was forced to publicly back down, a humiliation he never overcame.

At a time of perceived crisis, in other words, public tolerance for partisan games proved pretty low. And the standoff of 14 years ago doesn’t compare in severity to the economic emergency confronting us today.

In poll after poll, roughly 60 percent of Americans say they approve of how Obama is handling the economy. More tellingly, in a CNN poll 60 percent of Americans say they approve of how congressional Democrats are handling it, while 55 percent disapprove of Republican congressional leadership. A new AP poll puts it even more starkly — 68 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, 49 percent approve of how congressional Democrats are approaching it. Only 33 percent approve of the Republican approach, with 59 percent disapproving.

In times of stress, people naturally seek comfort in unity. The Republicans, hurting politically, turned to each other for that comfort. But the American people, also under stress, also sought unity and instead saw the GOP act in boldly partisan fashion. They clearly don’t approve.

101 comments Add your comment

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
6:29 am

And the funny business continues.

“GOP lawmakers tout projects in the stimulus bill they opposed”

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/62181.html

Sit back and watch the tap dancing!

AJC/DNC Management

February 19th, 2009
6:39 am

Thank you for clarifying the fact that Republicans had nothing to do with the “stimulus” bill, we appreciate your acknowledgment.

More tellingly, in a CNN poll 60 percent of Americans say they approve of how congressional Democrats are handling it, while 55 percent disapprove of Republican congressional leadership.

Oh boy, the CNN newsroom disapproves of Republicans, isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?

democrats wrote the stimulus bill with Republicans locked out, they rejected Republican input, they failed to address all of the Republican concerns, who, pray tell, are the “partisans?”

Joey

February 19th, 2009
6:40 am

It appears to me that the Senate and House votes somewhat matched the poll approving Obama. However, according to the AP poll, the vote was starkly different from the poll disapproving of congressional Democrats.

This raises several questions. Three of which are:

Do those of us out here who oppose this stimulus, and the several associated spending measures, deserve to have our voices heard in the form of Senators and House members voting against the bill?

Were any Democrat Senators pressured into voting for the bill?

Were the Democrat House members voting against the bill granted permission by the high priestess Pelosi?

ByteMe

February 19th, 2009
6:41 am

In times of stress, people naturally seek comfort in unity.

Let us unite to help the Republican Party become a boutique brand.

GodHatesTrash

February 19th, 2009
6:51 am

Cowardly leadership for a party full of cowards.

Caveman

February 19th, 2009
6:56 am

If the republicans were “locked out” when the stimulus bill was written, why were some of their proposed tax cuts part of the bill? I guess “locked out” really means that the republicans and their corporate masters weren’t allowed to put everything they wanted in the bill.
Wonder why that is? Oh yeah, because the American people threw their sorry butts out of power en masse. Sorry, a minority party doesn’t get everything they want. Get over it.

Cherokee

February 19th, 2009
6:58 am

The honorable thing for Republican house members to do, of course, is work to influence the Republicans in their states to refuse the monies from the stimulus.

Can we expect such integrity, for example, from the good Drs. Gingrey and Price?

Righhhhhttttt….

AJC/DNC Management

February 19th, 2009
7:01 am

Caveman February 19th, 2009 6:56 am If the republicans were “locked out” when the stimulus bill was written, why were some of their proposed tax cuts part of the bill?

Because the democrats had to bribe a bunch of RINOs just to get their abomination passed, moron.

AJC/DNC Management

February 19th, 2009
7:18 am

Oblahmasan begged Republicans to vote for this bill, even though they were not allowed to even read, and to their great credit, they told wonder boy to go pound sand.

Victory #1.

Seven House Democrats voted against the monstrosity, despite CNN newsroom polls.

Victory #2.

democrats hid behind their RINO human shields when announcing passage of this travesty, apparently not even brave enough to take credit for their own handiwork, gee, I wonder why?

Victory #3.

In the coming years, even though the economy of the United States is mired in a deep depression, the ghettos will once again be brimming with financial activity on the 1st and 15th of every month, a wondrous sight for every decent American to behold.

Victory #4.

AJC/DNC Management, YOU'RE FIRED

February 19th, 2009
7:20 am

“Because the democrats had to bribe a bunch of RINOs just to get their abomination passed, moron.”

I’m sorry, but it seems that you’re the freaking moron, Moron. The Reflublicans played politics with our dire situation. They should be ashamed, because the stimulus is going to work and they will try and take as much credit from it as they can. The days of the conservatives are OVER! Thank god.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
7:23 am

Well, Jay, you know that old saying, You can lead a Republican to shelter but you can’t make him come in out of the yellow rain, or something like that. I think it’s one of those corollaries of the Trickle Down Theory.

DB, Gwinnettian

February 19th, 2009
7:26 am

“We’ll be in a recession by next year, and I think [Clinton’s] tax increase will increase the deficit by putting Americans out of work.”

This man isn’t selling apples on the street to make ends meet, why, again?

The racist language is a shame...

February 19th, 2009
7:31 am

That this blog invites “civil” dialogue about race yet tolerates thinly veiled and offensive racist word plays on the president’s name like Oblahmasan and Brakkka. Even the GOP faithful, like McCain, denounced this type of racist rhetoric.

Some more even handed monitoring of this blog would get the tone out of the closet racist’s gutter.

ByteMe

February 19th, 2009
7:32 am

Poor AJC/DNC. You can tell how really wrong he is by how much name-calling he does. Can’t even clearly articulate his position without resorting to junior-high-level taunting.

Pathetic.

Dave R

February 19th, 2009
7:39 am

Jay, you keep trying to use polls as a source of input to provide leadership. The American people, by and large, are a society of American Idol worshiping, what’s the next new craze I can get my hands on, people with short-term interests. That is the main reason we have President Hope and Change in the Oval Office right now. In six months, if the so-called stimulus package isn’t working (as I predict it will not be), and the economy is still in the tank, these same people who love what is going on right now will be at the throats of those Beautiful People in liberal-land.

Leadership is never based on putting a finger to the winds to decide what to do. Nor is it something that looks to the next year or two years to see if it is successful. If Michael Steele is smart (and I think he is), he’ll take his time and craft a long-term strategy to regain the House and Senate when the policies of Hope and Change fail miserably.

Now, on to your revisionist history, Jay. The deficit fell, not because of increased tax revenue, but because of budget CUTS and smaller increases in spending – both of which can be attributed to the President and Congress working together to craft something that would accomplish that goal. However, Gingrich failed in 1995 to hold firm on the government shutdown as well. His lack of leadership was relying on polls.

As to Sen. Specter’s comments regarding another Senator’s thanking him? I have a lot of trouble believing him. I think he is looking for political cover and comfort right now, and finding none. Therefore, the “unnamed” fellow Senator to thank him. Arlen Specter is a failure as a Republican in a blue state, and is up for re-election next year (if my research is right). He voted for HIS job security, not ours. And frankly, any Senator who wants a Congressional inquiry into whether the New England Patriots videotaped his Philadelphia Eagles before the Super Bowl is no fan of small government.

AJC/DNC Management

February 19th, 2009
7:47 am

Bipartisanship? The administration failed even to respond to GOP offers to endorse an Obama campaign proposal to suspend capital gains taxes for new small businesses.-Karl Rove, WSJ

Funny as hell, the GOP is proposing oblahmi’s kampaign promises and getting rejected for their troubles, bwahahahahaha.

DB, Gwinnettian

February 19th, 2009
7:51 am

You can tell how really wrong he is by how much name-calling he does.

Name-calling is not always the key to understanding whether a commenter is completely full of crap, but it’s a good indicator, yes. Try to imagine ajc/dnc posting for an entire day without his pet names for people and organizations he dislikes. You can’t, can you?

david

February 19th, 2009
7:56 am

It is very shortsighted to see this so called stimulus bill as a success or failure.The worst part about it is that they are no American worker provisions in the bill.The greedy,yes greedy contractors, are going to win bids based on who they know not the quality or qualifications to do a particular job.Furthermore they will continue to exploit illegal immigrants for cheap labor on these projects.This will only stimulate whatever country they are from.I would also like to point out that I never got a job from a poor person cause quite frankly they can’t pay you.We are constantly demonizing big companies that actually have the resources and capital to move their operations to another country say Ireland.In Ireland the corporate tax rate is 11%. What is stopping any company with enough resources from becoming an Irish based company to which the Federal government would see no tax revenue from? I also would like to point out that the Democrats and Republicans BOTH serve their masters.Who are these Masters? If you don’t know by now that big money controls the body politic then you are either stupid or have your head in the sand.The two party system keeps us divided.As long as the two party system prevails the people will never be served.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
7:59 am

All of you Republicans out there in your dream worlds be sure to storm the offices of your state governors and legislators and demand that they refuse that stimulus money. Come on. Show America that you will not falter in the face of failure. No sir. Show America that you go down with your shipload of principled pandering as a united party. The few, the proud, the minority Republicans. And, remember, don’t go down without a fight. Just say NO.

Joey

February 19th, 2009
8:10 am

Regarding the demands and pleas for Republican’s to refuse any bailout money I offer this:

Despite our efforts the bill passed. Despite our efforts we will be paying for this spending for a very long time. Since we are not going to be excused from repaying our share or more, it would be silly, even wrong, for us to decline the funds.

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
8:12 am

Taxpayer

I have for days been wondering where all the “THANKS BUT NO THANKS” is.
(I suspect it’s exactly where it was the last time we heard that phrase)

Jindal, Sanford, Barbour…..are making noises in that direction, but we shall see.

Shawny

February 19th, 2009
8:12 am

There many things wrong with your way of thinking, Bookman. First, you say, “Republicans in Congress decided to approach the stimulus measure not on its merits…”.
Merits?!? It is crap. A couple of days ago, on Jeopardy, the clue was “a step before communism, where the government takes control of the economy”. The answer was socialism. While I don’t believe (totally) that we have taken a large step toward socialism, I do believe that the spending in this bill is a bunch of crap that democrats want to push and have wanted to push for years, but really won’t do much to jump start the economy. We get massive debt with little benefit. Merits, you say. The republicans were right to vote against it. It should have been scaled down to only what is needed. So much for reduction in special interest, pork barrel spending. So much for transparency. NO LEGISLATOR could have read the entire thing in the time that was given to slam it through.

Try your best to re-remember your history. Current memory is faulty. Yes, Clinton wanted large tax increases. His slant in his 1st two years is what lead to the GOP takeover in both houses of congress. After Newt and the boys came in and wrote the budgets, cutting spending, we were able to balance the budget. Oh, yeah, and corporate profits were high with $9/bbl oil, which gets taxed.

And what does this have to do with the stimulus? It is the opposite of what happened during Clinton’s years. It is massive spending on a scale we haven’t seen in a very long time. And in today’s dollars, the current crisis isn’t as bad as in the early 80’s, much less the 30’s.

And polls take the pulse of the people, but the people want the money, so of course, they want the stimulus, even though it is not the right thing to do in the long term. The people don’t care about the increase in debt and devaluation of their savings, as the people can’t see that far into the future. It is about what can you do for me now?

Cherokee

February 19th, 2009
8:13 am

Joey, where are your principles? I didn’t think Republicans could be bought off so easily. You’re the party of values, right? Stand up for them…Just say NO!

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
8:14 am

Posted:

Regarding the demands and pleas for Republican’s to refuse any bailout money I offer this:

Despite our efforts the bill passed. Despite our efforts we will be paying for this spending for a very long time. Since we are not going to be excused from repaying our share or more, it would be silly, even wrong, for us to decline the funds.

SHORTER VERSION:

My priciples can be bought.

Cherokee

February 19th, 2009
8:16 am

And by the way, Joey, this bill contains the biggest tax cut in US history. And tax cuts always result in more money to the Treasury, right? (At least that’s what your leaders Boortz and Limbaugh spout.) So we’re all in for good times…

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
8:17 am

Let all the so-called “American” companies that don’t want to pay their taxes just leave. So what. There are plenty of foreign-owned companies that are more than willing to come here and pay taxes. They are more “American” than the so-called “American” companies. That argument of corporations leaving because of taxes is as wrong as the argument that the Republican party is the party to vote for if you want to end abortions. It’s just not true. Of course, there are plenty of so-called “American” companies that do take advantage of loop-holes of their own creation to skirt their responsibilities to we the people to pay their taxes by setting up shell corporations off-shore and other such deceitful, underhanded, filthy, un-American, “not paying for their share of protection by funding the US military to fight terrorism”, etc., games…Tell me all about how Corporations should not have to pay any taxes because we the people have to pick up the tab anyway and I’ll tell you to pull your head out of that overpaid, arrogant CEO’s and BOD’s buttocks. Lay off the flavor-aid — it kills.

DB, Gwinnettian

February 19th, 2009
8:19 am

Taxpayer @ 7.59, seriously, I’d just as soon drop this “GOPers are hypocrites for taking stimulus money” business, for two reasons:

1) Unless you believe in the concept of collective punishment, it’d be morally wrong to deny the citizens of those GOP-led states the benefits legislated by our government. I have no problem with otherwise dunderheaded governors and state legislatures doing the right thing on occasion.

2) I just think it’s a non-starter as a debate tactic. I never bought the notion that prominent Dems were somehow hypocritical because (to pick an especially lame example) they used legal tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes when they could, as was a charge hurled by The Stupids against Teresa Kerry back in 2004. I vote for people based on the type of policies they’re likely to promote, not because I think they’re morally wonderful, especially. The personalities ought to take a back seat.

(Hard as that may be for those pre-programmed to think of Obama voters as hopelessly smitten by the man’s personality, in my case anyway, it’s the truth.)

Just my .02 USD.

Cherokee

February 19th, 2009
8:27 am

You make a good point DB. But it’s hard to resist, even though I expect you’re correct.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
8:29 am

And, despite “your” (Republican) efforts, that bill is laden with tax cuts. Darn those no good democrats. How dare them compromise with the fantastic four. Or, was it three. But it’s not too late. You can still have your principle and beat it too. Just take that money. Take all that you are entitled to and stick it in the bank. That’s right. Shove it in the vault. That’s tellin’ ‘em what for! Take it because you will have to pay it back. There’s no free ride and we all know that. Don’t we. Don’t WE! Take every penny and put it in something that earns interest and hold on to it until the bill arrives. Then pull that money out and pay it back and save we the people from the burden of paying it back later with interest. Do it. Do it NOW. What the hell are you waiting for! Copy this post and mail it off to your Republican — Done Nothing — representatives and tell them to DO IT. Do it for your children — if you have the guts.

AJC/DNC Management

February 19th, 2009
8:32 am

Blah, blah, blah-

Taxpayer February 19th, 2009 7:59 am All of you Republicans out there in your dream worlds be sure to storm the offices of your state governors and legislators and demand that they refuse that stimulus money.

You libs really should start listening to Conservative talk radio, so you can get a clue-

In part because of Sanford’s vocal opposition to accepting bailout money from a federal government that simply borrowed the funds for the loan in the first place, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) inserted a clause in the “stimulus” bill that allows state legislatures, through passage of a concurrent resolution, to override Governors who refuse to accept bailout cash, and take the money anyway.-AmSpec

duh

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
8:36 am

DB, you are wise and pragmatic.

However, being afraid to put “your money where your mouth” is or being seen as “silly” screams to be pointed out for the stuff and nonsense it is.

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
8:43 am

Andy,

If I remember correctly the founding fathers faced treason charges and death penalties but still managed to stand up for the they believed in.

Sanford is still saying maybe not…..

What makes a muskrat guard its musk in the misty mist of the dusky dusk?

COURAGE

Soothsayer

February 19th, 2009
8:46 am

No more Hummers? Oh, what a glorious day!

BDAtlanta

February 19th, 2009
8:50 am

I certainly hope we don’t have to see any more Lindsey Graham meltdown/tantrums in my lifetime. But that is probably asking too much…

Dave R

February 19th, 2009
8:52 am

Taxpayer, such vitriol for so early in the morning . . .

I, for one, have already asked my governor to refuse to take this money. It really is the principled thing to do. Unfortunately, the RINOs in our state legislature have no concept of cutting services or costs when revenues fall, and find themselves in a $2 billion deficit. Since they are in survival mode (they are trying to save their own skins) they have no reason to not accept this money.

Now, take a chill pill and adjust your tin foil hat a bit to the left (naturally). You’ll feel a lot better.

Now, I have no idea where you think that some folks feel that corporations shouldn’t pay any taxes, since not a single dime of tax money comes from the corporation anyway. Corporations are not consumers – individuals are. Ultimately, individual consumers fund all the taxes that corporations have to pay.

Ultimately, our short-term gratification of another trillion dollars in debt, funded by banks owned by countries that are not friendly towards us, will result in long-term consequences none of you liberals will ever understand. Because it is all about short-term gratification for you.

Joey

February 19th, 2009
8:57 am

Cherokee: O.K. I will say no. No, I will not behave in accordance with your misguided view of what I should do. And I confess I have no knowledge whether you think or don’t think.

Godzilla: If money is thrown into the garbage, should our principles prevent us from taking it out? For me the answer is no.

BDAtlanta

February 19th, 2009
9:00 am

This is a really good explanation of why the GOP acted the way it did: Calling Out the Conservative Lies on Stimulus
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/02/05-1

By the way, thanks to Bosch, Taxpayer, and others for the help on using links.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
9:03 am

DB,

If the Republicans had not been grandstanding and making such idiots of themselves for we the people with their “just say no” campaign and other pathetic displays of pandering, then I might be a little more receptive. Their first attack against the stimulus was their “list” of all that massive amount of pork that was thrown in. Remember. I even went through that posted list and summed up the numbers and they amounted to about 1% of the total package. That was the Republican party’s big argument and it blew up in their face. Then, they started with all the crap about the massive spending that does no good and does not create anything but busy work, etc. Riiiight. Please don’t make me pull up all the proof straight from the Fed that debunks any such claims. Then, there’s the moaning about no tax cuts — the very type of cuts that Republicans (Isakson more recently) have already acknowledged will not have a stimulative effect in this situation because of the massive amount of debt that people are burdened with. But, in the spirit of compromise, a few Republicans sat down with the Democrats and included a lot of tax cuts that cover a lot of people. Then, some Republicans had to chime back in on wasteful, non-job-creating spending such as, paraphrasing Mrs. G, putting condoms on mice for the trip on a high speed train or something like that. You do recall some of those exaggerations that may be best used to describe the rants of talk show hosts rather than the deliberations of a senator or at least that should be the case. Now, what is all the latest rage from the Done Nothings. “We should have been given a chance to review this massive bill and read every single word over coffee.” Cut the crap, OK. First of all, how the hell did these bozos generate that very first list of pork barrel spending that amounted to 1% of the total. They magically managed to scour that entire bill in record time and found what amounted to the proverbial needle in a haystack. I mean, really. Republicans and their crap. Besides, they had already told us over and over how they were going to just say no to whatever it was and so they did. Give it a rest like I’m about to do. I need more coffee.

Eric

February 19th, 2009
9:06 am

Losers, everyone. If this stimulus plan works I expect the GOP members of the house and senate to jump en masse off the 14th Street bridge. It’ll be a new national holiday!

lovelyliz

February 19th, 2009
9:06 am

How short is the collective memory of the GOP. Thery’ve learned absolutely nothing from th mistakes of the Democrats who used to require the same absolute party loyalty and lost control of the country. The Republicans havent’ just stabbed themselves in the back. They are turning the knife.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
9:12 am

Indeed, Dave. And it’s CuSO4∙5H2O. As for you other claims, pull your head out. I did promise to tell you that in my post so don’t hold it against me.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:12 am

Bookman,
unemployment is expected to jump to double digit numbers by years end. No one has read the bill including President Hussein. So, how is the GOP lost?

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:15 am

Bookman,
also, the American people are not so forgiving when it comes to political screw ups. The GOP has nothing to lose now. The democrats have everything to lose. You can quote polls all day long but polls do not represent reality, comrade.

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
9:16 am

I heard once that Anne Coulter wasn’t really as obnoxious in real life – she does it for show, I mean she did date Bill Maher for a while.

That kind of behavior, along with the unknown Senator coming to Spector and saying, good job, in my opinion, is even more despicable. With Coulter’s case, she’s just raising hell to raise hell’s sake – she’s enticing the idiots amongst us to rattle their sabers against a made up group of people.

In the case of this unknown Senator – it shows politics as usual – someone is coward enough to not put their name on it when they know it’s a good thing because they are afraid of bucking the party.

Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are heroes. Arlen Specter did it because he’s old and doesn’t have anything to lose.

BDAtlanta

February 19th, 2009
9:17 am

This is a really good explanation of why the GOP acted the way it did:

Calling Out the Conservative Lies on Stimulus

By the way, thanks to Bosch, Taxpayer, and others for the help on using links.

Andy the Welcher

February 19th, 2009
9:18 am

Well…
It appears as if the Democrats are welching now. What is the tally up to now? Maybe a dozen tainted cabinet members or failed appointees? Now it appears as if the illinois soap opera continues? Good job Dems… You won by going up against the “culture of corruption” now in a scant 30 days it appears as if they haven’t learned a damn thing in the last 8 years. Unbelievable…

ew

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:19 am

Bookman, here is an article that sharply rejects your claim about the stimulus bill.

Fed Predicts Shrinking Economy, Higher Unemployment
Fed Downgrades Economic Forecast for This Year

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
By Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press

Washington (AP) – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday sharply downgraded its projections for the country’s economic performance this year, predicting the economy will actually shrink and unemployment will rise higher.

Under the new projections, the unemployment rate will rise to between 8.5 and 8.8 percent this year. The old forecasts, issued in mid-November, predicted the jobless rate would rise to between 7.1 and 7.6 percent.

The Fed also believes the economy will contract this year between 0.5 and 1.3 percent. The old forecast said the economy could shrink by 0.2 percent or expand by 1.1 percent.

The last time the economy registered a contraction for a full year was in 1991, by 0.2 percent. If the Fed’s new predictions prove correct, it would mark the weakest showing since a 1.9 percent drop in 1982, when the country had suffered through a severe recession.

The bleaker outlook represents the growing toll of the worst housing, credit and financial crises since the 1930s. All of those negative forces have plunged the nation into a recession, now in its second year.

“Given the strength of the forces currently weighing on the economy,” Fed officials “generally expected that the recovery would be unusually gradual and prolonged,” according to documents on the Fed’s updated economic outlook.

Against that backdrop, unemployment – now at 7.6 percent, the highest in more than 16 years – will keep climbing and stay elevated for quite some time, the Fed predicted.

Fed officials anticipated that unemployment would remain “substantially” higher than normal at the end of 2011 “even absent further economic shocks.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=43756

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:21 am

BDAtlanta,
you may want to make sure that your links work before you post them, comrade.

BDAtlanta

February 19th, 2009
9:21 am

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
9:22 am

“Mr.” Joey

If you had a principled reason for tossing the cash, then you cash in your principles when you take it out.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:23 am

Bookman,
how are tax paying citizens supposed to trust government when the idiots don’t pay their taxes? Hypocrisy Bookman, hypocrisy. Government is crap.

Federal workers owe billions in unpaid taxes.

WASHINGTON – From the U.S. Postal Service to the Executive Office of the President, thousands of federal workers have not paid their 2007 federal income taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service is trying to collect billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from nearly half a million federal employees. According to IRS records, 171,549 current federal workers did not voluntarily pay their federal income taxes in 2007. The same is true for 37,752 active duty military and nearly 200,000 retired civilian and military personnel.

Documents obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act show 449,531 federal employees and retirees did not pay their taxes for a total of $3,586,784,725 in taxes owed last year.

Each year the IRS tracks the voluntary compliance rate of all federal workers and retirees. The percentage of employees and retirees who are delinquent has gone up and down over the past five years, but the amount unpaid has increased each year topping $3.5 billion for the first time in 2007.

The agency with the most delinquent employees is the U.S. Postal Service. With more than 747,000 employees, the postal service is the largest employer in the federal government, but with a 4.16 percent delinquency rate, it is a full 1 percent above the average compliance rate this year.

The IRS would not provide comparable data for the general population. But a spokesperson for the IRS did supply the delinquency rate for IRS employees — less than 1 percent. The IRS is the only federal agency where an employee can be fired for not paying his taxes.

The Executive Office of the President, which includes the White House, has 58 employees who did not pay $319,978.

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1478352

Andy the Welcher

February 19th, 2009
9:28 am

DB,
” Unless you believe in the concept of collective punishment,”

That is exactly the concept that is being WIDELY embraced by the wingnuts. They want Obama to fail to buttress thier hateful and narrow ideology, they want it so bad it hurts even though they know that it means dragging the nation and the world through the mud, they don’t care.

Being able to scream “we were right” is more important to them than the well being of the people of our country. (even though the last 8 years is proof positive they don’t have the answers either) And to do this means that “real Americans” will be seriously hurt as well, they don’t care, ideology trumps all (just like the Taliban)…

ew

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:28 am

BDAtlanta,
That article is has 3 so-called conservative lies. Care for me to post the thousands of liberal lies? This one in particular caught my attention.

Conservative Lie #2: Government isn’t bad. Conservative government is bad.

Not only did the couple of paragraphs NOT explain how conservative government work, it pointed out No Child Left Behind. Not exactly conservatism BDAtlanta. Conservative government is about saving money and not getting in debt. How is that bad? George Bush was not conservative. Everyone from me to Rush Limbaugh has said that. Reagan conservatism is real conservatism and I challenge you to debunk that. Reagan got us out of Carters big messes and jump started the economy.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:30 am

Andy the Welcher,
you wrote: They want Obama to fail to buttress thier hateful and narrow ideology, they want it so bad it hurts even though they know that it means dragging the nation and the world through the mud, they don’t care.

Where have you been for the last year when democrats and liberals openly said that Bush was a failure while he was in office? You people can dish it but you can’t take it. Go cry on another blog Andy. No one cares if your liberal feelings are hurt.

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
9:40 am

“want to fail” versus “has failed”

that ain’t too complex of a difference is that?

AmVet

February 19th, 2009
9:40 am

JB, great stuff.

Everyday I wake up and am thankful for my health, my family and my friends. And that I live in the greatest nation on earth. And that I was never, ever, ever a Republican. Or (faux) conservative. Or whatever they call themselves these days…

Ronnie, Newt and BushCo – the unholy trinity that has sent the steal and spend GOP stumbling backwards to the point of irrelevancy. Perhaps for decades.

Yet the lockstep neo-con apparatchiks and big tent, family values, Mission Accomplished fools still lap it up.

Amazing…

Davo

February 19th, 2009
9:40 am

“In times of stress, people naturally seek comfort in unity.”
Give me a break. I’m not feeling much unity with the type of people who approve of this balony. People who live responsibly are paying for those that don’t.

Not how I was raised.

Andy the Welcher

February 19th, 2009
9:41 am

My liberal feelings are certainly not affected by a mental midget such as yourself.

example:
CommunistAJC bleats: “George Bush was not conservative. Everyone from me to Rush Limbaugh has said that.”

Then not 5 minutes later contradicts itself: “Where have you been for the last year when democrats and liberals openly said that Bush was a failure while he was in office?”

So either the Dems and Rush were right, or you’re a schitzophrenic idiot. I’m guessing the latter…

ew

Jay

February 19th, 2009
9:41 am

Says Commie:

“Conservative government is about saving money and not getting in debt. … Reagan conservatism is real conservatism and I challenge you to debunk that.”

Sure, Commie, I’d be glad to.

You make two statements that directly contradict each other. You argue first that conservative government is about saving money and not getting in debt. OK so far. But then you claim that “Reagan conservatism is real conservatism.”

Well, which is it?

Under Reagan, the national debt soared. In fact, it almost tripled. So by your definition of conservative government, Reagan was one of the LEAST conservative leaders in our nation’s history. By your own definition of conservative government, you ought to despise Reagan.

I think I have met your challenge.

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
9:42 am

Commie,

We’ve said that Bush was a failure because – well, he was. Those assessments were based on his actions, not made up stuff.

lovelyliz

February 19th, 2009
9:42 am

Let me make sure I have this right:

1. Giving $$$$ to Wall Street under a Republican president – good
2. Loaning $$$ to Main Street under a Democrat president – 3rd level of damnation

lovelyliz

February 19th, 2009
9:45 am

Exactly Jay.

True conservatives act that way. Neo-cons just pay lip service.

Shawny

February 19th, 2009
9:50 am

Be a lockstep democrat and support the stimulus. People like billionaire Paul Allen need it, seen here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-stimulus-saves-microsoft-billionaire-hundreds-of-millions-phew-2009-2

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
9:50 am

Andy the moron,
you wrote:Then not 5 minutes later contradicts itself: “Where have you been for the last year when democrats and liberals openly said that Bush was a failure while he was in office?”

How does Bush not being a conservative and Dems wanting Bush to fail contradict each other?

Jay,
not one president has managed to get us out of complete debt. Reagans debt does not compare to what the debt is now under Clinton, Bush, Obama. I also remember the 80s being an economic triumph under the Reagan administration. Again, you also fail to understand that government does not stop recessions. Never has. The market is what gets us out of recessions.

Bosch,
then don’t get upset when “right wingers” blame Obama for his failures. If you are going to dish it you’d better be able to take it.

Davo

February 19th, 2009
9:51 am

Oops, pardon.

Coin toss! Don’t matter, the money gets spent and we get the bill.

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
9:54 am

Yeah Commie I will – when Obama invades Iceland or something like that, I’ll be right there bitching with you. Let’s wait until he fails at something first.

Joey

February 19th, 2009
9:54 am

Mrs Godzilla: Apparently I offended you when I did not include the Mrs. in your name. Please accept my appology for that offense.

Regarding the money. I, as an opponnent of this bill, am not disposing of this money. I openly and sincerely opposed disposing of this money. I lost the vote. I am required to and I will bend to the will of the winners on this issue at this time.

This includes that I will participate when it is time to repay this money. It would be silly and wrong for me to not take what has been designated for me, and what I will have to repay whether I take it or not.

Truth

February 19th, 2009
9:56 am

It amazes me how you people take issues and divide them on political lines…. just like you divide issues on racial lines. It has nothing to do with a political view. It has to do with the fact that these power hungry morons in Washington want more and more power. BOTH major parties are guilty of this and you all take one side or the other and argue how your party makes all the right decisions. They are both a joke. True, I definately lean right, but all this spending on both sides is way out of control. All of these bailouts and such just aren’t gonna work. All of you are pure enablers for the economic distruction of America and until you stop bickering over party lines and a revolution against all spending arises, we will all suffer more and more.

Paul

February 19th, 2009
10:04 am

Bosch

Your earlier point about Ann Coulter raising hell for hell’s sake – maybe, but I kinda think she raises hell so she can raise $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Always interesting to watch reactions when the deficit under Pres Reagan is cited. Another case of accepted wisdom colliding with facts. I love facts.

David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director, wrote a book about his experiences called “The Triumph of Politics.” Good read. Near as I can recall, his case was pretty much Congress was pleased to pass the big tax cuts, pass huge increases in Defense (doubled the procurement budget the first year) but then blinked when it came time to make offsetting cuts in other areas.

Kinda similar to today – tax cuts, huge increase in outlays, no offsets. Pres Obama as Pres Reagan reincarnated. Who’da thunk?

BTW – all the comments earlier on about the “Republican” tax cuts in the stimulus bill – ummmm. it was Pres Obama who called for 40 percent tax cuts in the package. And Congress didn’t meet his target. I don’t think Pres Obama is a Republican…..

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
10:07 am

oh those silly principles.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
10:09 am

Commie,

I don’t know why I expect to get through to you this time — I must be experiencing an Einstein moment, or something — but here goes.

First, you provide the following definition: Conservative government is about saving money and not getting in debt.

Second, you proclaim Reagan to be the epitome of this definition of conservative: Reagan conservatism is real conservatism and I challenge you to debunk that.

So, one would necessarily surmise then that Reagan’s policy was to promote a debt-free Fed or to at least work toward that status by eliminating deficit spending. An examination of his time behind the wheel is needed in order to determine the validity of this claim. Let’s take a look. Referring to the graphs and other information here (and if you don’t like this, I can pull the numbers straight from Fed sites and compile them in a partisan format of your choosing for a nominal fee), you will note that deficit spending and the national debt increased during Reagan’s time in office. Hence, he did not save. He borrowed and borrowed and borrowed in order to give the wealthy and corporations tax breaks while giving we the people the illusion that his “Trickle down” philosophy was something other than warm yellow “rain”. Claim debunked…Again.

Jay, why don’t maintain a separate listing of debunkings that folks can pull up or link to.

Jay

February 19th, 2009
10:10 am

Commie says:

“Reagan’s debt does not compare to what the debt is now under Clinton, Bush, Obama.”

You’re right. Reagan almost TRIPLED the debt. By comparison, Bush was a piker. He merely DOUBLED it. By your own measure, Commie — “Conservative government is about saving money and not getting in debt” — Reagan was the least conservative president of the whole bunch you name, and far less conservative than W.

It doesn’t matter what you may “remember” about the ’80s. What matters is the facts. You are the perfect example of someone who prefers to worship the myth that enshrouds Reagan while absolutely ignoring the fact that he was something quite different in reality.

Andy the Welcher

February 19th, 2009
10:10 am

CommieIdiot,
I didn’t wish Bush to fail, he just did it on his own, by your own admission too…

So again, I contend:

Either the Dems and Rush were right, or you’re a schitzophrenic idiot. I’m guessing the latter…

So… moving forward, pick one of the voices in your tiny head and listen to it exclusively , then maybe you won’t sound like such an idiot. Nahhhhh…. that’s not possible.

ew

Paul

February 19th, 2009
10:10 am

Communist AJC 9:50

The ‘deficit’ is generally referred to as the yearly thing – was the gov’t budget for that year in surplus or deficit?

The ‘debt’ is generally where the nation stands at a particular moment – it’s an historical sum going back to when they first began keeping records.

You may want to check gov’t websites dealing with budget, finances, or statistics. I believe you’ll find Pres Clinton, second term, not only had yearly budgets that were surplus but also paid down the preexisting debt.

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
10:13 am

Paul,

Oh, I know that’s why Coulter does her hag screeching, but to me, that’s what makes it so so pathetic. She doesn’t believe all the crap she’s screeching, but the people she’s screeching to do – and I usually don’t do this, but let’s face it – some of these folks that believe that screeching hag crap aren’t the smartest in the bunch.

Taxpayer

February 19th, 2009
10:14 am

Oops, I did not see your post, Jay, before I posted mine. I did not intend to duplicate your work.

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
10:17 am

Mrs. G.,

“oh those silly principles” :-)

I know, those things cause such problems sometimes don’t they?

gadem

February 19th, 2009
10:18 am

People like Stanford are heroes to the wingnuts….the likes of Stanford and Madoff are who the wingnuts want to trust to do the right thing. Give them more tax breaks so that they can create jobs…yeah right. All they will do is hoard more money…sick POS, all of them!
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29277787

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:19 am

Paul,
about Clinton.

No, Bill Clinton Didn’t Balance the Budget

by Stephen Moore

Let us establish one point definitively: Bill Clinton didn’t balance the budget. Yes, he was there when it happened. But the record shows that was about the extent of his contribution.

Many in the media have flubbed this story. The New York Times on October 1st said, “Clinton balances the budget.” Others have praised George Bush. Political analyst Bill Schneider declared on CNN that Bush is one of “the real heroes” for his willingness to raise taxes — and never mind read my lips. (Once upon a time, lying was something that was considered wrong in Washington, but under the last two presidents our standards have dropped.) In any case, crediting George Bush for the end of the deficit requires some nifty logical somersaults, since the deficit hit its Mount Everest peak of $290 billion in St. George’s last year in office.

Stephen Moore is director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute.

And 1993 — the year of the giant Clinton tax hike — was not the turning point in the deficit wars, either. In fact, in 1995, two years after that tax hike, the budget baseline submitted by the president’s own Office of Management and Budget and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted $200 billion deficits for as far as the eye could see. The figure shows the Clinton deficit baseline. What changed this bleak outlook?

Newt Gingrich and company — for all their faults — have received virtually no credit for balancing the budget. Yet today’s surplus is, in part, a byproduct of the GOP’s single-minded crusade to end 30 years of red ink. Arguably, Gingrich’s finest hour as Speaker came in March 1995 when he rallied the entire Republican House caucus behind the idea of eliminating the deficit within seven years.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5656

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:21 am

Bookman,
George Will can explain Reagan better than I can.

Reagan’s Conservatism

by George Will

WASHINGTON — In this winter of their discontents, nostalgia for Ronald Reagan has become for many conservatives a substitute for thinking. This mental paralysis — gratitude decaying into idolatry — is sterile: Neither the man nor his moment will recur. Conservatives should face the fact that Reaganism cannot define conservatism.

That is one lesson of John Patrick Diggins’ new book, “Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History.” Diggins, a historian at the City University of New York, treats Reagan respectfully as an important subject in American intellectual history. The 1980s, he says, thoroughly joined politics to political theory. But he notes that Reagan’s theory was radically unlike that of Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, and very like that of Burke’s nemesis, Thomas Paine. Burke believed that the past is prescriptive because tradition is a repository of moral wisdom. Reagan frequently quoted Paine’s preposterous cry that “we have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

Diggins’ thesis is that the 1980s were America’s “Emersonian moment” because Reagan, a “political romantic” from the Midwest and West, echoed New England’s Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Emerson was right,” Reagan said several times of the man who wrote, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.” Hence Reagan’s unique, and perhaps oxymoronic, doctrine — conservatism without anxieties. Reagan’s preternatural serenity derived from his conception of the supernatural.

Diggins says Reagan imbibed his mother’s form of Christianity, a strand of 19th-century Unitarianism from which Reagan took a foundational belief that he expressed in a 1951 letter: “God couldn’t create evil so the desires he planted in us are good.” This logic — God is good, therefore so are God-given desires — leads to the Emersonian faith that we please God by pleasing ourselves. Therefore there is no need for the people to discipline their desires. So, no leader needs to suggest that the public has shortcomings and should engage in critical self-examination.

Diggins thinks that Reagan’s religion “enables us to forget religion” because it banishes the idea of “a God of judgment and punishment.” Reagan’s popularity was largely the result of “his blaming government for problems that are inherent in democracy itself.” To Reagan, the idea of problems inherent in democracy was unintelligible because it implied that there were inherent problems with the demos — the people. There was nothing — nothing — in Reagan’s thinking akin to Lincoln’s melancholy fatalism, his belief (see his Second Inaugural) that the failings of the people on both sides of the Civil War were the reasons why “the war came.”

http://townhall.com/columnists/GeorgeWill/2007/02/11/reagans_conservatism

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
10:22 am

I’ve never really understood how – when things go right – they pick either the President or the Congress who belonged to their particular party as the victor. But when things go wrong, they reverse it.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:23 am

Andy the Retarded Monkey Child,
Bush not being a conservative and Dems wishing him to fail do not contradict each other. You have yet to explain that one to me. Now, as far as inner voices go I’d say that you take the cake. Especially since you’re blog handle is making fun of AJC/DNC Management. How’s your moms basement working out for you, troglodyte?

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:25 am

gadem,
you wrote: People like Stanford are heroes to the wingnuts….the likes of Stanford and Madoff are who the wingnuts want to trust to do the right thing. Give them more tax breaks so that they can create jobs…yeah right.

So, explain how Nancy and Harry were right there with Bush when the Democrat Congress gave Wall Street all of that money?

getalife

February 19th, 2009
10:25 am

The same thing happened in California. The gop eat their own when they do the right thing.

@@

February 19th, 2009
10:32 am

The “unknown” senator? Puh-leeeze, jay!

There would be, absolutely, no reason for a truly conservative senator, to be ashamed of his standing on principles. Methinks the pinocchio, Specter is projecting.

If this little encounter did occur, (which I highly doubt) an “eff-U” straight and to the point of Specter’s “knows” would have carried great influence with me.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:33 am

Bookman,
I went back and checked the facts. You were right. Apologies to you. But you can not deny that Reagan had something that no other president had. I guess that’s why he is in the top ten presidents of all time list.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:36 am

Bookman,
in all reality, Reagan is the closest person we have had to conservatism. Gingrich’s 1994 Revolution was also the result of what happens when conservatives act like conservatives.

Mrs. Godzilla

February 19th, 2009
10:36 am

Bush should have had a Bonzo instead of a Gonzo….

then he’d be in the top ten too!

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:37 am

Mrs. Godzilla,
Clinton should have smoked his cigar instead of sticking it in a 19 year old intern.

the he’d be in the top ten too!

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
10:39 am

Commie,

It must suck to realize that the core principle of the conservatives: fiscal responsiblity doesn’t exist – at least the Democrats don’t lie about it.

PJ

February 19th, 2009
10:39 am

To: CommunistAJC

Reagan did have what the others didn’t. Acting classes.

Bosch

February 19th, 2009
10:41 am

Commie,

After that 10:23 and 10:37, the next time you post scripture and talk about being a Christian, and how I’m not – I’m gonna remind you of what you wrote up there.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:41 am

Bosch,
you wrote: It must suck to realize that the core principle of the conservatives: fiscal responsiblity doesn’t exist

Care to elaborate on that one?

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:42 am

PJ,
so explain how Reagan is still heavily looked upon with greatness from Republicans and the Democrats?

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:43 am

Bosch,
when did I say that you were not a Christian, Bosch?

Joey

February 19th, 2009
10:43 am

I think some of you know the word principle, but don’t know how to use principles in real life. Perhaps because your political leaders and your media spokes-persons do not provide any examples for you to follow.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:44 am

Bosch,
which post will you try to throw in my face Bosch? Enlighten me please.

DB, Gwinnettian

February 19th, 2009
10:45 am

c’ajc, you say: “you can not deny that Reagan had something that no other president had.”

Yes, he had the gift of gab, he was an outstanding corporate spokemodel prior to being installed first as CA gov and then President.

He made himself seem sympathetic when he acknowledged that he had Alzheimer’s a couple of years after departing office.

People don’t tend to beat up on his legacy as a result. I suspect they’ll get over that softheadedness one day. Can’t happen too soon to suit me.

CommunistAJC

February 19th, 2009
10:46 am

DB, Gwinnettian,
well, can you please name a president better than Reagan in the modern era? I mean, JFK botched the Bay of Pigs, Carter was a disaster and Clinton was a liar who was disbarred.

David Harrell

February 19th, 2009
10:47 am

Face it:
The economy AND Wall Street traditionally do much better under Democratic rule…Google it and study it to find out the truth.

BTW, the middle class do better also.
And…if you want a lesson in fiscal responsibility, see which party jacks up the national debt consistantly. “Nuff said.

History and facts don’t lie.