I wanted to make this point last night, but Atrios beat me to it and did a better job:
If I were advising the Republicans I would've told them to vote against the stimulus package. I would tell them to make the point clearly that if they were in charge, the bill would be a different bill. They're a competing political party and they need to, you know, highlight the fact that their vision for America is actually different. I appreciate that members of both parties don't always toe the line completely, but on a bill as big as this it makes perfect sense for it to play out as it did.
That's exactly right. We had this thing called an election back in November, and people elected a large Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress because they wanted to give the Dems a chance to fix the economy their way. I don't know anyone who elected a candidate mainly because they wanted to work with the other party -- we wanted politicians with a clear notion of how they wanted to solve problems, notions that often are at complete odds with the opposing party.
On this one, I believe the Democrats are largely right (I say "largely" because if there had been more time, which there isn't, that might have had a somewhat better spending list, such as more mass transit aid, etc.). A spending program creates more jobs than tax cuts, period:
Government spending is more effective at creating jobs than tax cuts. Individuals can spend a relatively small amount each in tax cuts on relatively small items - if they even spend the cash, which many don't. Businesses are even less likely to use tax cuts to invest.
In contrast, government spending to create or save jobs from being cut provides more "bang for the buck." A tax cut of $1 returns $1.02 to the economy, while $1 grant to states returns $1.36 and $1 spent on infrastructure brings in $1.56. And you end up with better bridges and roads, healthier people and a more hopeful future. Direct aid to low-income families, like food stamps, Medicaid and refundable tax credits, serves not only as a safety net, but also creates jobs.
And job creation is what this is supposed to be all about, isn't it? As for the politics, the Republicans will get a chance to stand up for their ideas in 2010, and then we'll let the people decide. Again.