Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reality Bites

Dammit. Paul Krugman has ruined my Valentine's Day!

[...] These aren't normal times, so normal political standards don't apply: Mr. Obama's victory feels more than a bit like defeat. The stimulus bill looks helpful but inadequate, especially when combined with a disappointing plan for rescuing the banks. And the politics of the stimulus fight have made nonsense of Mr. Obama's postpartisan dreams.

But it's now clear that the party's commitment to deep voodoo - enforced, in part, by pressure groups that stand ready to run primary challengers against heretics - is as strong as ever. In both the House and the Senate, the vast majority of Republicans rallied behind the idea that the appropriate response to the abject failure of the Bush administration's tax cuts is more Bush-style tax cuts.

And the rhetorical response of conservatives to the stimulus plan - which will, it's worth bearing in mind, cost substantially less than either the Bush administration's $2 trillion in tax cuts or the $1 trillion and counting spent in Iraq - has bordered on the deranged.


For while Mr. Obama got more or less what he asked for, he almost certainly didn't ask for enough. We're probably facing the worst slump since the Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office, not usually given to hyperbole, predicts that over the next three years there will be a $2.9 trillion gap between what the economy could produce and what it will actually produce. And $800 billion, while it sounds like a lot of money, isn't nearly enough to bridge that chasm.

OK, no he hasn't. I still love him, and he's still 100% correct. The "post-partisan" illusion has been destroyed. We're starting to realize that $787 billion isn't nearly enough of a "stimulus" to bring our economy out of what may become another "great depression". Today's Valentine's Day, and all I can do is think about the massive hole we're in and what we can do to get out of it.



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