|Sorry, pal. You can't win 'em all.|
This is sort of a double edged sword in my eyes. It's probably a good thing that the bill didn't pass the senate, because we can't really afford to spend more damn money on gambles and half-truths. This is a bad thing because there's not been any alternatives presented, or at least none that have received any of the lime light.
I suppose that's not entirely true. The Republicans seem to have some ideas, but everyone is afraid to try them. It sucks having to just wait and see if they're going to do anything to help get us out of this slump, even if doing something means taking themselves out of the equation.
At most, we should expect the government to do things that make this country conducive to economic success. We're not likely going to achieve that by taking a one-sided approach. I seriously want to slap a kitten anytime someone asserts implies that the solution is easy as just raising or lowering taxes. I'm not going to pretend like I know what the hell I'm talking about, or what changes are going to get us back in the black, but I don't think spending more money is going to get us out of this.
So what does this mean for Obama? Well it means that he's probably fairly boned come November 2012. The Democrats control the senate, and they did not fall in line with his bill. Some guy at the Daily Beast said that this amounts to a vote of no confidence. I'm inclined to agree.
Any time a president can't get his own party behind a piece of legislation he's introduced, you know he's in trouble. He's in campaign mode right now though, so he'll likely do what he's been doing in the past couple of weeks: he'll blame congress for inaction, and admonish them for "screwing" the American people. A man who doesn't have to worry about getting reelected would likely take this time to sit back and think hard about the things he believes in.
If your own party is nervous about spending more and more money, then shouldn't you start to wonder if spending more money really is the solution? Discount the fact that Jimmy Carter did the same thing Obama is trying to do and his jobs bill failed to be a long-term solution, and forget about the fact that none of the recent spending has done anything to get us out of this--Obama and the Democrats really need to think hard about this.
Sure, government spending is not always a bad thing. Take the 1950's for example. We were booming despite the marginal tax rate for the highest earners was 90%, and the government was spending money like crazy. The difference was, though, that Eisenhower believed in fiscal responsibility--that crazy notion that we should not spend more than we take in--and all the money was being spent on stuff that actually spurred growth.
I think somewhere around 50% of the federal budget goes to entitlements. How many people receiving those entitlements are going to actually give something back to the economy? How many of those entitlements are doled out inefficiently? Government spending is fine when the money is spent on stuff that's going to spur growth. It's not a good thing when the money spent is simply trying to sustain people's lifestyles.