WHAT IS JOHN BOEHNER TALKING ABOUT?…. In a time of severe economic crisis, it’s important that all of us — voters, policy makers, investors — remember to do two key things. First, keep a cool head and avoid panic. Second, pay absolutely no attention to congressional Republicans, who have no idea what they’re talking about.
Republicans quickly criticized the idea of such a vast [stimulus] initiative, saying Congress should instead cut taxes to spur economic growth.
“Democrats can’t seem to stop trying to outbid each other — with the taxpayers’ money,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “We’re in tough economic times. Folks are hurting. But the American people know that more Washington spending isn’t the answer.”
I realize that Boehner and congressional Republicans don’t want to deliberately hurt the country, so perhaps it’s best if they take this opportunity to enjoy a little quiet time.
Fortunately, Democrats apparently seem to both appreciate the seriousness of the situation and the necessary remedy. While Barack Obama, during the campaign, had talked about a $175 billion stimulus program, we’re now looking at a package that may be four time as big. Austan Goolsbee, a senior economic advisor to Obama, told CBS News yesterday, “This is as big of an economic crisis as we’ve faced in 75 years. And we’ve got to do something that’s up to the task of confronting that. I don’t know what the exact number is, but it’s going to be a big number.”
How big? Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told George Stephanopoulos yesterday that the stimulus should be between $500 billion and $700 billion. “It’s a little like having a new New Deal, but you have to do it before the Depression. Not after,” Schumer added.
Note to policy makers: aim high. “The 1930s recession became the Great Depression because policymakers didn’t take the necessary actions. Nobody wants to make that mistake this time around,” Jared Bernstein, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said. “Is there a possibility that we could overshoot? Of course. But from what I’ve seen, the danger is not doing enough.”
As for the implementation, ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports that Obama’s transition team would like to see the stimulus package pass Congress and in the Oval Office literally the day of the inauguration. There are lingering concerns, though, that a Republican filibuster may scuttle the plan.
It’s only the future of the American economy at stake. That’s hardly a reason to put GOP obstructionism on hold.