I can't help it. I'm a fool for budgetary showdowns. They've replaced professional sports for me as an unhealthy obsession. The one happening around the StimPackage is particularly interesting because you really do have both sides coming from opposite ideologies (Starve the Beast v. Unleash the Beast) and daring the other one to blink. And this time the Dems may have the advantage. I know - hard to believe.
I'm sort of dizzy because roles have reversed here. From the start, you had the White House negotiating with itself, spurred no doubt by Wall St. to FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST DO SOMETHING now that the elite finally started to feel the heat generated by the kill-the-poor, treasury looting policies they instituted in the first place. And so making the kill-the-poor, treasury looting tax cuts permanent was off the table. By the time the House was done with the deal, there were upper limits on the tax rebates and the package, although not perfect, did move in a progressive direction. To get it all the Dems had to give up were Unemployment Insurance benefits and food stamp increases. The Dems in the House that is, because it looks like the Senate really will step into the breech:
The White House has warned against tinkering with the agreement reached with House leaders last week.
"I don't think the Senate is going to want to derail this program," Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Bush's pointman on the deal, told CNN on Sunday. "And I don't think the American people are going to be anything but impatient if we don't enact this bipartisan agreement quickly."
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the Senate would consider adding to that plan, including extending unemployment benefits, boosting home heating subsidies, raising food stamp benefits and approving money for public works projects.
Well, if the Senate can manage to attach all of those things, that, my friends, is the holy grail of economic stimulus. The White House can send all the talking points out it wants to about who derailed what - including those Dear Leader will deliver himself tonight - but when the bill that Reid is talking about hits BushCo's desk and he has to veto it, the headlines aren't going to read "Dems Veto Stimulus Package." I mean, okay, they may, given the world we live in, but it's unlikely. Stalling growth will fall entirely in Dear Leader's lap because there is already bi-partisan support in this election year for a package that is all things to all people, which, thanks to the House's work on the tax rebate side, this will be.
There is still the possibility that nothing will get done, but I don't see how, after all the press about the coming rebates (What are you going to do with your $600??!) the White House can cram this Stimu-Kitty! (TM) back in the bag. Is it possible that the Democrats actually flanked the White House?