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How Often Can Republicans Say “Carter-era Economic?”

Monday, February 9, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Jonathan Martin and manu Raju summarize the GOP’s assessment of the porkapalooza:

The risks for Obama are considerable. He and the Democrats will have no one else to blame if the package fails to boost the economy. Obama himself has said his first term can be judged on whether it succeeds, whether it creates or saves the 3 million to 4 million jobs he promises.

And if the economy fails to show marked signs of improvement -a possibility indeed -Republicans will have a megabillion-dollar “I told you so” in their pockets, just in time for the 2010 midterm elections and Obama’s own reelection bid in 2012.

Throughout the next few days of debate, the conference and the final votes in the House and Senate, every Republican Representative and Senator should warn of the risks of spending this much money on giveaways. This kind of spending unconnected to the productivity unleashed by tax cuts brings on inflation and low if any real economic growth –Carterism, in other words.

And the clear warning of where we are headed, back to 1977-1980, should be announced again and again, along with the fact that the president’s claim to bipartisanship was simply a campaign sham, just one even more effervescent than most.

Repetition, repetition, repetition: It is a teaching moment that the votes of Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter cannot in any way obscure. This sort of fiscal policy cannot work and never has. The Democrats know this but prefer the short-term political benefits of paying off their constituencies over the opportunity before them to redraw the political map by embracing centrist, common-sense economics as Clinton did post 1994. President Obama was led left by Speaker Pelosi, and the cover he needed to make his way back to the center was denied him by the three GOP senators. It will be a very expensive lesson for the country, but as even the MSM is figuring out, the new president is not a tranformational figure, just a cool, updated version of Jimmy, without the sweater and with the Oval Office fully heated.

President Obama sits in his shirtsleeves during a meeting in the Oval Office. (Pete Souza/White House)

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Home and Abroad: Sunday Reading

Sunday, February 8, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Clark Judge warns against the unnecessary stimulus in U.S. News & World Report, using Milton Friedman as a guide.

And in the Weekly Standard Reuel Marc Gerecht provides a comprehensive report from Iraq as it voted.

How Big Is The “Stimulus?”

Saturday, February 7, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Part of the problem with this debate is the absolutely gargantuan size of the stimulus. Stunned by the numbers rolling around, we are losing sight of the size of the mountain of cash being readied for shipment from the printers to a million different destinations.

This struck me as I read through Jonathan Schanzer’s “The Iranian Gambit in Gaza” from the February issue of Commentary. (And what an issue it is –more on that below.)

Schanzer recounts the years-long effort by Tehran’s mullahs to control the Hamas through funding, and notes an al-Jazeera report that “‘Iran is known to have given $120 million to Hamas’ over the past three years,” and that “[d]uring a 2006 visit to Tehran by Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh, Iran pledged $250 million in aid to compensate for the Western boycott” of Gaza.

The mullahs push into Gaza is huge and troubling, but at least it helps us by comparison to understand the scale of the porkapalooza underway in D.C. Their investment of a quarter billion in Hamas is meant to alarm, and it does. It is a huge amount of meddling.

And it is nothing compared to the print-run about to get underway at Treasury.

Commentary has always been an important read, but in the years ahead it will become as crucial as it was during the Carter years. See, for one other example among many, Jonathan Foreman’s “India’s Time of Reckoning” if you want a sober assessment of the difficulties ahead for the Obama Administration.

And for sheer pleasure, read Joseph Epstein’s poignant and very wise “The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff.”

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