Today, E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post proves once again that he is hitting the pipe. In this lovely piece of work, Mr. Dionne posits that P.E. Obama will be able to recklessly spend on the entire liberal Democrat wish list because — wait for it — we’re already broke. We apparently must spend and spend and spend nonexistent funds in order to get over this, and everyone, whether liberal or conservative agrees.
Middle-class tax cuts? Practically a done deal. New investments in green technologies? No problem. “Smart” meters to help households save on energy costs, plus a new electricity grid? A natural. Universal broadband? It’s about future growth. Investments in medical information technologies? Good for jobs now; good later for cost containment, better treatment and health insurance reform.
But this view is shortsighted. If the government has to spend a lot of money, why not use it for programs that can lift the economy now and also deliver a long-term payoff? Insisting on the same old approach to a stimulus means demanding only backward-looking investments that leave us with the same old problems once the spending spree ends.
Of course, the stimulus should include some tried-and-true measures. There is nothing wrong with spending on roads, bridges and mass transit, along with school construction and rehabilitation. It’s a good time to make up for our long-standing underinvestment in infrastructure, that boring but hugely important word. State and local governments also need fiscal help if they are to avoid retrenchment that would only negate federal stimulus efforts.
And as a recent report by Sharon Parrott of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warned, the downturn “is likely to cause significant increases both in the number of Americans who are poor and the number living in ‘deep poverty,’ with incomes below half of the poverty line.” The poor should have
first call on the new spending. They need help — and they will spend the money quickly because they have to.
So, to recap, spend our nonexistent tax revenues (or our newly printed inflationary dollars) on the poor, because that’s the best way to turn the economy around. The poor are well known by economists to be the economic engine of America, with their massive job creation and stellar work ethic. And also, throw in large infrastructure projects run by the government, funded out of thin air, and just watch the economy turn around. [‘Puter does agree that the infrastructure needs work, starting with the electric grid.] It worked so well in the Great Depression. Oh, and don’t forget bailing out the profligate state governments who spent their way into insolvency. ‘Puter’s looking at you New York and California.
What could possibly go wrong? Uh, Mr. Dionne? Ever heard of runaway inflation with zero growth, or its far more evil cousin, deflation?
‘Puter’s going to take a nap now. He’s got a headache from trying to wrap his mind around the sheer inanity of Mr. Dionne’s prescription.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.