Friday, January 9, 2009

What the hell is going on here?

In a shocking but awesome development, there appears to be some legit and public push-back from democratic senators on the crappy aspects of Obama's stimulus plan. (Via Open Left)
Tom Harkin:

"There's only one thing we've got to do in this stimulus, and that's create jobs," Harkin told me. "I'm a little concerned by the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this ... it still looks a little more to me like trickle-down."

Likening Barack Obama's economic recovery plan to the failed supply-side excesses of the Reagan and Bush years is a bit of a Cassandra moment. But Harkin didn't back down. "What I'm hearing from Mr. Summers is that they've got a different approach -- tax breaks, and this and that," he said. Harkin warned that, much like the outcome of George Bush's $600 stimulus package last year, recipients of quick tax cuts "are going to be salting it away, not spending it."

Pushback like this is very important in getting better policy and letting Obama know that pressure from the left exists. The good news in this is the positive response that the Obama camp has had to the criticism:

“Obviously, it’s a big answer to a big problem and there are a lot of component parts to it,” Mr. Axelrod said in an interview after meeting with balky Senate Democrats. “These folks are not potted plants. They’re elected officials, and they’re doing their jobs.”

He added, “It’s a collective process, and we’re willing to listen to people’s ideas.”

Asked if they were willing to adopt people’s ideas, Mr. Axelrod said: “We’ll see. It depends on the idea.”

Obama himself:
My staff and I have been engaged in a constructive dialogue with members of Congress over the last few days and weeks about my American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan which will save or create at least 3 million jobs, and make long-term investments in the critical areas of energy, health care and education. We have made good progress in these consultations, and I look forward to working closely with Congress to shape legislation that will work for the American people.
Even the walking-talking human shaped feces that is Larry Summers got in on the act:
Mr. Conrad, who described the meeting as extremely positive, said Mr. Summers ended it by telling the senators, “Message received, loud and clear.”
I guess someone forgot to tell Barack Obama that criticism of his policies hurts him and should only come after he solved all of our serious problems. If people were trying to undermine my presidency, I sure wouldn't be encouraging them to do it further.

In all seriousness, I'm floored by the willingness of the senate democrats to tell Obama that parts of his plan are bullshit, but I'm equally impressed by Obama's openness to the criticism. We don't know if it will change the plan, but it's a very good thing that this type of back and forth is even taking place.

1 comment:

  1. Why is this blog always so angry? Just let the leader lead, I'm sure he will have all of the answers.