It’s so easy to govern, when you’re not governing.
Today’s Joplin Globe (way back on page A-7) carried this relatively tiny headline:
Republicans killed it. Killed it dead:
The 57-41 vote fell three votes short of the 60 required to crack a GOP filibuster, delivering a major blow to President Barack Obama and Democrats facing big losses of House and Senate seats in the fall election.
Not to mention a “major blow” to those who have already been victimized by previous Republican mismanagement of the economy:
The demise of the bill means that unemployment benefits will phase out for more than 200,000 people a week. Governors who had been counting on federal aid will now have to consider a fresh round of budget cuts, tax hikes and layoffs of state workers.
The Democratic-sponsored bill that went down to defeat had already been scaled back to appeal to those mythical “moderate” Republicans, who, in the end and as they almost always do, joined the Obama-haters in their party and refused to give Obama and the Democrats a “victory.”
If you buy any of the dook coming from the lips of Republicans who say they support such benefits but want them paid for, then you were not only born a sucker, you will die one.
The bill they defeated, with yet another in a long line of filibusters, was essentially a way to keep the slowly but steadily improving economic recovery from stalling; in effect, the legislation was another way to stimulate the economy so we don’t slide into another recession.
And Republicans know that, too. That’s why most of them opposed it. I’m sadly confident that a large number of Republicans wouldn’t mind seeing the economy tank again, power—and defeating Obama—meaning so much more to them than unemployed ingrates on the public dole.
I think back to the two massive tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2001 and 2003, when they controlled the White House, Senate and the House.
The cost of the Bush tax cuts has been about $1.8 trillion. Yes, that is a “tr” on the front of “illion.” Those tax cuts—which benefited disproportionately the wealthy—are due to expire on January 1, 2011, and Republicans, of course, are demanding that they not be allowed to expire (at a 10-year cost of $2.2 trillion). How to pay for them has not been proposed, naturally.
At the time of passage of the 2003 tax cut law, Republicans claimed that passing tax cuts would stimulate the economy and cause it to grow. Here are George W. Bush’s words at the signing on May 28, 2003:
By insuring that Americans have more to spend, save and invest, this legislation is adding fuel to an economic recovery. We have taken aggressive action to strengthen the foundation of our economy so that every American who wants to work will be able to find a job.
My how things change when you’re not responsible for governing the country.
The Bush tax cuts, which cost so much then and now, were never offset by spending cuts or paid for in any way. They were funded by unprecedented borrowing, leading to many of the problems we have today, and hamstringing the current administration as it tries to deal with our economic troubles.
And today, when folks need it most, there isn’t one Senate Republican—many of whom voted for the 2001 and 2003 deficit-financed tax cuts—who could find it within themselves to help the more than 200,000 people who will lose their benefits each week or keep states from having to kill jobs and services.
Shame on Republicans, but more than that: shame on anyone who would put them back in power.