As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, February 06, 2009

Is It Fearmongering If It's True?

The President lit into Republicans last night at a House Democratic retreat with a fiery, almost campaign-like speech.

Obama, speaking to about 200 House Democrats at their annual retreat at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, dismissed Republican attacks against the massive spending in the stimulus.

"What do you think a stimulus is?" Obama asked incredulously. "It’s spending — that's the whole point! Seriously.”

Stabbing hard at Republicans who once aligned themselves with his predecessor, Obama made it clear that the problems he seeks to address with his recovery plan weren’t ones of his making.

“When you start hearing arguments, on the cable chatter, just understand a couple of things,” he said. “No. 1, when they say, ‘Well, why are we spending $800 billion [when] we’ve got this huge deficit?’ – first of all, I found this deficit when I showed up, No. 1.

“I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.”

Obama went on to contrast the kind words of House and Senate Republican leaders with their increasingly strident opposition to the stimulus package.

“We were complimented by Republicans saying, ‘This is a balanced package . . . we’re pleasantly surprised,’” he said. “Suddenly, what was a ‘balanced package’ is suddenly out of balance.”

In some circles this has been derided as fearmongering, this idea that the consequences of doing nothing are grave and serious. Um, here are the consequences of doing nothing, George Bush's final gift to a dying nation:

Employers slashed another 598,000 jobs off of U.S. payrolls in January, taking the unemployment rate up to 7.6%, according to the latest government reading on the nation's battered labor market.

The latest job loss is the worst since December 1974, and brings job losses to 1.8 million in just the last three months, or half of the 3.6 million jobs that have been lost since the beginning of 2008.

The loss since November is the biggest 3-month drop since immediately after the end of World War II, when the defense industry was shutting down for conversion to civilian production.

This isn't a game and it isn't a false threat. We need a massive boost to the economy and the spender of last resort is government.


It’s as if the dismal economic failure of the last eight years never happened — yet Democrats have, incredibly, been on the defensive. Even if a major stimulus bill does pass the Senate, there’s a real risk that important parts of the original plan, especially aid to state and local governments, will have been emasculated.

Somehow, Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again [...]

The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.

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