Monday, February 9, 2009

Don't Listen to Them, Mr. President

The President is facing near-unanimous Republican opposition to his economic policy. But he doesn't need to stare too much at his rear-view mirror -- the Republicans he left in the dust last November are still there. Jason Linkins on The Huffington Post reports a new ABC News poll that shows that 67% of Americans approve of President Obama's plan to use public spending to stimulate the economy. That means, of course, that at least 13-14% of Americans who voted against the President are in his corner on the need for the stimulus. The same poll shows 58% disapproval of Congressional Republicans' stonewalling. 51% of those polled consider the plan's passage to be "critically important," with "Only 16% say it is 'not that important.'"

Linkins' excellent report ( also explains that the "moderate Senators' plan" does NOT cut "pork," but instead reduces funds for State governments and school construction:

Senators Ben Nelson and Susan Collins have been allowed to skate by and issue fundamental falsehoods about what they have done to the bill. . . . . [t]he two Senators claim to have "funded education," and have ensured that the bill will contain "robust spending on infrastructure to create jobs, $87 billion in assistance for states, and assistance to schools, especially for special education and Pell grants." [But in fact their plan includes]:

* Elimination of $25 billion in flexible funding for state governments.

*Cut $7.5 billion in funding for "state incentive grants" to help states make progress toward No Child Left Behind goals.

* Eliminated $19.5 billion in construction aid for schools and colleges.

* Reduced new aid for the Head Start early childhood program by $1 billion.

Nowhere in their statement do [Senators] Nelson and Collins make any effort to justify these decisions. Indeed, they don't even seem prepared to admit that they made these decisions.

Don't stop now, Mr. President. Remember that it was the Republicans who would only vote for the Bush Bailout after $100 billion in pork was added to the Fall package. Take care of the people and we'll take care of the GOP doomsayers.

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