Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trying to Make Sense of Republican Opposition to the Stimulus Bill

The past few days have been spent in some degree of meditation and retrospection: What is the Republican justification for opposing a stimulus bill that most economists contend we as a country need? How a Republican can, with a straight face, contend that trickle-down supply-side only snake oil economics is the answer to our country's economic plight is beyond me. Further, that some Republicans are so ill-informed as to suggest that ACORN, a poverty-centered organization, is directly benefitting from the stimulus bill, when ACORN, factually speaking, isn't even mentioned in the stimulus bill.

Multiple economists suggest that a larger economic stimulus bill is needed than the one presented. Economists such as Will Straw suggest "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is an important step in getting the U.S. economy back on track. The $787 billion package includes a mix of investments in infrastructure, science, education, and health—measures to put the United States on a greener path, help those most affected by the recession, support states that would otherwise have to lay off additional workers and cut back key public services including education, and provide tax cuts for low- and middle-income people and businesses." In other words, long-term economic growth, from public works projects and other endeavors, combined with short-term relief to those in poverty and middle-class and lower-class families through tax cuts, makes this stimulus package a successful, multi-tiered approach.

President Obama has reached out to Republicans in an attempt at real bipartisanship, and Republicans have instead stuck their heads in the stand, contending that the problem can be solved by the same lame bromides ("tax cuts for the richest Americans") that got us into this economic mess in the first place. Sadly, this inaction may be a recurring gesture by Republican "leadership" in the house and senate.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Jersey Assembly: Reelecting Albano and Milam

Over in New Jersey's First legislative district, there are two Assemblyman who merit reelection, Matt Milam and Nelson Albano. Both represent what has traditionally been a Republican district, that is, Cape May county. But by having a progressive-centrist message and by having the juggernaut that is Sen. Jeff Van Drew at the top of the ticket, they both have been elected to the assembly multiple times. Over at PolitickerNJ, the latest assembly rankings have both Albano and Milam at "Leans Democratic," just a smidge above the "toss up" rank.

Milam and Albano are responsive, smart legislators who respond to local Cape May issues, such as illegal dumping on state beaches and money for rural police patrols. They are pro-environment and generally vote with the Democratic majority on the important bills, including backing affordable housing for the state's most impoverished residents. For this and many other reasons, I am compelled to think that Albano and Milam deserve reelection in 2009 and encourage other Democrats and Independents (even moderate Republicans) to volunteer and support their re-election bid.