Matthew Yglesias says if not the Obama stimulus, the US would be in the same bad shape as Europe where the economy is supposed to shrink 4.2 percent vs. 2.8 percent here. I think this says more about a) the underlying deep power of the American economy. b) the Fed’s monetary stimulus rather than c) the 5 percent of the $787 billion that already out the door.
Politics and policy from inside Washington
This American Thinker post explores the political fallout of rising gas prices on the Obamacrats. (Gas was a $1.80 when Obama took office.) When gas prices soared in 2008, the Dems hammered Bush and the GOP. But super-high prices ended up being a plus for the McCain campaign since he was arguing for an “all of the above” energy policy (more driling and nukes, not just alternative energy) which strikes most people as a pretty reasonable approach. If we head back to $3.50/4.00, the Obamacrats could get hit by a double whammy — public unhappiness at high gas prices and at the administration’s refusal to move beyond a green approach.
That is the conclusion of this Reuters story. But how about 2010? Here is the money graf:
Two obstacles stand in the way. First, advocates must convince the public the bill, which might initially raise electricity and other energy prices, will ultimately save money by heading off damage caused by global warming. … One opponent, the Coalition for Affordable American Energy, whose members include the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce and about 200 other organizations, has estimated climate legislation could cost U.S. households $1,400 per year by 2020. … Second, experts said the bill must include nuclear energy, which is nearly emissions free but comes with other problems such as toxic waste. Claussen said a resolution on nuclear power could help the Senate reach the required 60 votes for the bill’s passage.
Me: Unless money from cap-and-trade is fully refundable to consumers, I don’t see it happening. And if it excludes nukes, it seems like a fantasy plan untethered from political, economic or scientific realities.
Some Democrats want the costs of healthcare reform to be judged by the White House Office of Management and Budget, not the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. As The Hill explains: “This unusual option could give Democratic leaders hundreds of billions of additional dollars to work with as they draft their plans. But Republicans would call it an accounting gimmick and a huge spending loophole.” It doesn’t need to be said, but I will say it: If the Bush White House would have tried a stunt like this, the Dems and the MSM media would have screamed.
More and more it looks as if a public healthcare insurance option won’t happen, at least as originally imagined by President Obama and liberal Democrats. Republicans won’t vote for it, nor a sizable number of centrist Democrats. Now they are talking about state or regional cooperatives that would provide a pubic option of sorts. So how goes the liberal agenda? Consider: No federal government healthcare option, no cap-and-trade energy plan with the allowances auctioned and only light limits on CEO pay. But at least we are still running trillion dollar deficits!