Recently, top Democrats have publicly declared an end to partisanship and the beginning of a post-partisan era; however, their recent actions are telling a very, very different story.
Last week the house approved the 647-page "stimulus" package, by a vote of 244-188. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the new spending bill and 11 Democrats joined the GOP's attempt to stop this titanic bill from ever becoming law.
But this hasn't stopped top Democrats from lying through their teeth to convince critics that they included Republican input on this bill. In truth, this bill was written, not in Congress, but in the private offices of select Democrats; Republicans were not even allowed to offer amendments. Despite the rhetoric coming from the left, it would seem the only bipartisan aspect of the 111th Congress is its opposition to the Democrats' agenda.
First of all, the fundamental principles that this bill was created on are the antithesis of conservatism. The assertion that the GOP had anything to do with this horribly misguided bill simply does not hold water. Although talking about post-partisan politics may make Obama supporters all warm inside, the new administration has done nothing to demonstrate that the next four years will be anything but the usual party politics.
When asked about the bipartisan opposition to the bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi opined:
"People vote for what they believe in. Clearly, the Republicans did not believe in the agenda...and that's probably one of the reasons they voted that way. I think they probably voted their conscience and they couldn't support that."
Huh!? Well if the members of the Republican opposition to this bill were voting with their conscience, then how did Pelosi and her followers vote?
The new administration and congressional leaders continue to reinforce the notion that we are in a crisis that could last for years. To their credit, they understand that the only way they can achieve these massive spending increases is if they scare the crap out of the American people. And no one understands scare tactics like Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who recently made his intentions very clear:
"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
It is becoming all too clear that fear mongering, and not hope or change, are the chief tools of this new administration.
Although Democrats can reasonably contend that fear mongering is not a tactic used solely by them, that does not justify this blatant attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of every American.
How can you promise transparency and then create a bill so large and dense that not even a senator, let alone an average citizen, can understand the whole thing? That alone does not invalidate a bill, but in this case, there are ulterior motives behind this faux transparency.
From the New Deal to the Great Society, the merits of the free market have been ignored by liberal politicians in favor of increased government spending. French Prime Minister François Fillon understands the value of free-market ideas as evidenced by his recent rejection of an Obama-style stimulus plan. Of the plan, Fillon remarked:
"It would be irresponsible to choose another policy, which would increase our country's indebtedness without having more infrastructure and increased competitiveness in the end."
Hopefully the Democrats in congress have as much sense as the Fillon. Infrastructure will account for only a small part of this plan in comparison to other areas of spending.
If you still think that this Democratic pork bill is what this country needs, consider this: Only 10 percent of the appropriated funds will be spent in 2009, and some economists believe that much of the "stimulus" money could reach the markets only after the recovery is well under way. Furthermore, there are rational reasons to doubt the Keynesian idea that government expenditures will be immediately converted into consumption.
Massive corporate and personal debt lie at the heart of this crisis and individuals, who now hold low expectations for the economy's future, will not spend their bailout money until this problem is addressed. Instead, they will use the tax rebates to pay down existing debt and save the money for the future.
Even if you agree with the expansion of government this bill would entail, the methods congressional leaders are using to lead this coup are unconscionable.
The true goal of this bill is to cement the current position of the Democratic Party for many years; however, the Democrats have dressed it up as a desperately needed boost for the economy. This bill will not jump start the economy; but it will institutionalize the "Nanny State."