By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
It's really no surprise that we have faux populist movements like the Tea Party in these tough economic times. The polling shows these are white folks, at or near the age of retirement. They have spent a lifetime following the rules (mostly) and sticking money in their 401(k)'s, and watching the government take a bite from each paycheck for Social Security. When the stock market crashed, the US of A didn't give them money--it gave money to the SOBs who caused all the trouble, and caused their retirement funds to tank. Suddenly, the comfortable retirement they had hoped and planned for was gone--gone with a poof, along with tens of thousands of dollars from their savings.
Hey. Wait a minute. I just described me.
Well, here is where I differ with the Tea Partyers in my age cohort. I have been around Washington enough that I don't trust anyone--not Democrats, and surely not Republicans--to be good stewards of the economy, or to steer us to fiscal soundness with promises of tax cuts and a balanced budget. But I do trust a century of proven economic theory that says, if you face a recession, juice the economy. Stimulate. And don't worry about the debt.
A new CBO report shows that W. and Obama and their economic advisers knew what they were doing when, over the opportunistic objections of many congressional Republicans, they pushed all those stimulus tax cuts and spending programs through Congress.
Because of all that stimulating, the GDP grew from two to four percent more than it would have, and there were two to four million more jobs. Until the Greeks screwed things up, the stock market was responding nicely as well, and a lot of that money that vanished in the 401(k)s was making a reappearance.
One would think that sound-minded folks, adding this recent proof to the historic record, would support the idea of passing, just to be on the safe side, a modest stimulus package this summer--to make sure that this month's economic tremors don't build into another financial earthquake, wiping us out again.
One would think that the Tea Party folks, having seen their retirement funds begin to recover, would stop listening to the Fox News conspiracy theorists, who are making boatloads of money scaring them, and support another Keynesian injection.
Not a chance. In a way, its unfair that, after Obama and Nancy Pelosi and the other grown-ups do the heavy lifting one more time, the benefits will go to the whiners who oppose them. But who ever told you life would be fair?