Monday, March 23, 2009

What will conservatives do if the stimulus works?

This is now becoming President Obama's economy. The stimulus funds are now being poured into the economy, billions of stimulus dollars are being spent by state and local governments to pay people to do jobs in their communities that need to be done, and this week tens of millions of workers are going to start seeing federal stimulus dollars show up in their paychecks. It is the very model of Keynsian economic theory: when people are not spending their money in the private sector, massive government spending replaces it and provides the spark to re-ignite a sputtering or failing economy.

And don't look now but:

Walgreens today became just the latest American company to announce that expected profits will exceed expectations.

February retail sales picked up at the end of the month and were not as bad as expected.

After federal aid went to the banks and the stimulus bill passed mortgage applications increased and now we find that new housing starts jumped 22% in February. March may be even better.

Although prices have dropped by 15% since last year, we find out today that existing home sales have suddenly spiked upward 5%.

New jobless claims, after accelerating downward for months, have now stabilized over the past month at about 650,000. Still bad, but no longer getting worse.

Ford, the only U.S. automaker which did not receive bailout funds, announced this morning that it will even buy back some of its own debt.

There is still plenty of bad news out there, but my question is this:

Having invested so heavily in the failure of the Obama stimulus plan, what will the Obama-haters do if it works?

Already some are backtracking. As I mentioned on a post about a week ago, my Republican Senator Jon Kyl, who as minority whip worked as hard as he could to organize a filibuster to stop the stimulus, is now trying to fool his constituents into giving him some of the credit for it. Yeah, that's taking a position on principle.

But the record is clear. Republicans, dittoheads, conservatives, and many others hitched their wagons to the position, clearly articulated by Rush Limbaugh, that "I hope he fails."

Fine, take that position. And it is still early, it may be that at the end of the day the stimulus and subsequent government spending won't be enough to save the economy. But if it does work, then don't be like Senator Kyl and try to make people forget that you worked to prevent it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's pretty straightforward, Eli. They'll claim that the downturn wasn't as severe as Obama and the Democrats claimed and that the stimulus funding had nothing to do with it. Then they'll start calling for rolling back all the new spending, but only cite a few "red meat" examples as a justification for opposing it all. And in 2010 and 2012 their campaign theme is going to be that Obama and the Democrats are bankrupting the country with their reckless spending and huge deficits.

But I don't expect that the few bits of good news we've seen recently will miraculously jump-start the economy. The massive problems with the financial system that have widespread and major devaluations of assets at their core are going to be saddling this economy for a long time. Imo you're playing into the conservatives' hands by making posts suggesting that the changes already made are turning the country around, and that it's Obama's economy now. This is still an economy that's sick on Republicanism, and it's likely to get a lot worse before it begins to really recover.