(Or, A Stimulus For Tomorrow, Part 7)
I have some predictions in that regard: It won't work nearly as well as anyone would like, if it works at all. (1, 2, Hilzoy's response, 3, 4, 5, 6.) And it seems that others at least accept the possibility that the stimulus won't work (if not my precise criticisms). Benen continues:
The New York Times' report on today's bill signing also noted that the White House "has not ruled out a second stimulus package."
I don't imagine the right will respond well to those eight words.
I can't imagine how "the right" will respond to those eight words, given that at least some members of the right think that I'm only worthy of mockery. I can say how I respond to those eight words, however:
Told ya so.
The current stimulus package is too small on the front end and too bloated and unfocused on the back end. It wasn't a stimulus bill so much as a grab bag of goodies. Of course we can't rule out another stimulus package, because we didn't do a proper stimulus package the first time.
At least, those are the talking points I'm prepared to start spouting if and when President Obama or the Democratic leadership start talking about a second stimulus package. It would be more difficult to make those charges, of course, had the Democrats' stimulus package included something like a payroll tax holidayor gotten more Republican votes. Whatever the merits of my position, the "optics" would have looked wrong. But, as it stands, the optics are as clear as the merits ... and so I don't think Steve (or anyone else on the D-side of the aisle) should want a round 2 on the same terms as round 1.
Now, none of this is to excuse some pretty lame Republican ideas the last go-round. There wasn't much of an "R" alternative; the good ideas that were floated by Republicans didn't get traction. [Sens. Mitch McConnell floated a 1-2 year payroll tax holiday, but no one really addressed it ... for instance, this response blasted a 1-2 month payroll tax holiday as ineffective. Ummm, not the same thing.] Sen. DeMint's proposals, which did get a lot of press and thirty-six Republican votes, were bat-crap crazy. Douthat is typically insightful on such Republican foibles. But I suspect all of that is going to be forgotten if a request for a do-over comes 'round.
So, here's a request to my left-leaning overlords, which may even do you some good if there is a need to stimulus part deux. If there has to be a next time, reach out and pluck a good Republican idea from the idea basket. One you can live with .... maybe a payroll tax holiday, maybe something else. Y'know, like President Clinton did with welfare reform: a good idea that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the current stimulus package starts to undo. Get more than a handful of Republican "moderates" on board.
That's bipartisanship. Of course it will infuriate those on the left and the right: Any good compromise will do that. But, in this case, your compromise will includes a genuine Republican idea, one that you choose, rather than just cuts by so-called Republican moderates. That may not just improve the bill. It may actually improve your political position.
Seemed to work for Clinton, at least.
UPDATE: Clarified a sentence in the second paragraph (the one starting with "And ...").