Thursday, September 08, 2011

Good luck on that additional stimulus, Mr. President

I wish I could have watched the President's speech to Congress tonight. Really, no joke. While I may disagree with him, I keep hoping he will have an epiphany that his political opponents are also his constituents, who are loudly telling government what they want and expect. Congress could take a hint too.

I've read the text of his speech; but didn't really find anything exciting or particularly moving. It is difficult to judge by the text alone. He may have presented it much better than it reads. Thus, I wanted to watch.

Seeing the light?

Here is what I get from the speech. He was opposed to tax cuts; now he isn't. He either knew they would help, and opposed them anyway; or, he really believed he could tax us into prosperity.

Suddenly he also sees the light on overregulation too. Or did he know all along that it is burdensome?
I'm glad he has seen the light; but, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. He says the tax cuts are paid for.

Who do you suppose will pony up the revenue in this plan? Business taxes.

Or the same old thing?

It's the same divisive tactic. People are getting the dangling carrot of lower payroll taxes and other goodies, but only if we get those greedy corporations to pay up what they owe. He is offering to save companies a few dollars on payroll while simultaneously hammering them by taking away other deductions and loopholes.

Something else that stands out from the speech is the heavy emphasis on schools and teachers. While admirable, they are also big union havens, just like the public employee and construction sectors.

What the President is doing, in effect, is specifically carving out freebies to constituencies that would make Republicans hesitant to oppose the Bill. They probably won't oppose the measures; but will add or subtract some.

The Fly Around the Ointment

His only miscalculation is that he's not dealing with a bunch of admirers who will feel inspired to carry out his grand vision as is. He's dealing with Congress. They will hack and butcher whatever he sends them; it is their nature. There will be poison pills in the bill that the President will oppose.

The President will then have to choose between passing a bill he hates, or threatening to veto his own bill, which he would have invested the last of his political capital selling. He seems adept at painting himself into a corner. The fly is circling around the ointment; it's a matter of time before it lands.

If the Republicans were smart, which I'm not saying they are, they would take the President's Bill and dismantle it, passing those things they like individually, and removing those things they do not. This would present too many targets for the President to campaign about. It would muddle his message.

Not a Game Changer

So, in the end, tonight's speech won't be the game changer the President was hoping to pull off. He already broadcast his game plan by demanding Congress pass the bill quickly. All they have to do is pass it in a grotesque, unrecognizable form that the President would be loathe to claim and do it eventually, not immediately.

No doubt, the President's team thinks that they have hit with a master stroke that outsmarts the Republicans. If you've ever watched Pinky & The Brain, you know that Brain has brilliant ideas; but they fall apart due to the simplest and dumbest of reasons.

The longer Congress delays on passage of the Bill, the less effective the President will be seen. Timeliness is crucial to the President's plan. Congress need not delay 14 months, they need only delay until the Fall when people will be thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Superbowl, March Madness, etc... The public will stop paying attention at that point.

The President's urgent pleas to Congress have revealed his hand. Expect that to be the undoing of the master plan.

UPDATE

Politico has an post showing concern that the bill will be broken up
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