Friday, February 6, 2009

An Open Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on assuming the office you worked so hard for and for bringing with you a spirit of positivism, enthusiasm, and seriousness. I did not vote for you nor do I consider myself aligned with your political philosophy, but I wish you success in your term and nothing but happiness and good health for you and your family.

I write today in order to urge you to work closely with the Congress, especially the Senate, to focus and sharpen the economic stimulus package introduced recently in the House. I am under no delusions here; if the Democratic majority wishes to push through a bill bereft of Republican support, it probably can. Elections have consequences, and my party has lost two in a row, leaving it in a poor position to contest policies with which it disagrees.

With that in mind, it appears that you are a man of your word. You indicated throughout the campaign a desire to work across party lines to reach solutions, and you indicated a desire to reach solutions that were not ideologically based, but fact-based. On economic stimulus, I agree with the broad outline of your plan; immediate tax cuts to put more money into working families pockets, and stimulative works projects (often referred to as "shovel ready") to jumpstart the economy. Where we have visceral disagreement is in what constitutes effectively stimulative tax cuts, and what variety of government spending should be considered "shovel ready" and "stimulative".

This is not the place to delve deeply into the particulars of our disagreements; suffice it to say that my views are largely represented by the Republican minority in the Senate and by moderate, fiscally conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson, Jim Webb, and Mary Landrieu. What we all have in common is a desire to move the country forward out of its current economic malaise. There will be time for advancing policy initiatives important to you; however, inserting them into this Trojan Horse of a stimulus bill undercuts your credibility when you refer to our current economy as in crisis. An emergency bill designed to address a crisis should not attempt to remake the political landscape in one fell swoop.

Alice Rivlin, formerly Bill Clinton's budget adviser, advocated exactly this policy in her recent Senate testimony in which she suggested separating out the tax provisions and the immediately stimulative portions of the bill from the longer term policy wants. Republicans would even then have legitimate protests over the bill, as the tax cut mechanism you have selected essentially results in a one time hand-out rather than long-term marginal rate relief. But they would not have the votes or the support of the American people, something they seem to enjoy at this point in the debate, your personal popularity notwithstanding.

Mr. President, your time to lead is now; this is why the American people selected you in a convincing manner. You did indeed win the election, and you do enjoy a mandate to move the country forward. But in the end, you are required to work with 100 Senators and 435 Representatives who also won THEIR elections, and it is their constituencies who are being heard on this issue.


Bryan McGrath
Blogger, The Conservative Wahoo


Anonymous said...

Very well written. You make us very proud.
Mom & Dad

Anonymous said...

This chart shows some of the biggest ticket items in the US budget over the last 200 years, in today's dollars: thought you might find it interesting and ... scary.

I think that advancing the Administration's new policy initiatives -- which a clear majority elected Obama to do -- and remaking the political landscape IS part of the answer to our econ. crisis. Also being thrifty with the particulars, I don't believe a much needed uptick in consumer confidence and spending is going to drive the cart, but that these will come as a response to significant changes to a flawed system.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Thanks for the chart, is scary.

I think we interpret the election a little differently...

I also don't mind significant changes in a flawed system, if those changes were designed to stimulate the economy.


$2B for federal child care block grants?

$1B for "community action" block grants?

$15B for increased Pell Grants (hear's tuition rising again!)

$650M for digital TV coupons?

It's actually unfair...I could really go on and on.

These are not designed to change a flawed system, they are policy issues that should be debated in the light of day on their merits. As I've said in print and on video, I get that he won, and he ought to get much of his way. But don't keep beating the country over the head with this as an emergency if you're going to lard the bill with non-emergency spending. It is simply dishonest.

Indicator Veritatis said...

If you really want to help us out of this economic mess, then don't confuse people with this voodoo economics.

All the economics you assume or state in your "Open letter" is nonsense. It is nothing more than voodoo economics.

Now I know that sounds harsh, but it really is true. The Austrian School has finally been disproven, so has the Chicago school, yet all you have to offer in your Open Letter is rehashing their errors.

But you don't have to take my word for this: you should instead take the word of Economics Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. His Op Ed at explains it all.

In a word, Keynes was right. The only way out of a mess like today's is to increase government spending.

Don't you remember your history? That was what got us out of the Great Depression. All of FDR's WPA programs were not enough spending, it was the WAR spending that ended the Depression.

Now don't be so obstinate. If you keep this up, and if people listen to your incredibly bad advice, then the only way out of this latest recession will be the war spending of the next World War!

We should NOT force ourselves to pay such a high price for ending the current recession. It is a criminal thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks CW, I'll take your words under advisement. But I don't think I'll listen to any thing Indicator Veritatis said.

Newer Post Older Post Home