(When) It’s the Economy (Don’t Be) Stupid

The New York Times editorializes today: 

If the unemployment rate continues to rise in the next month or two, Congress and the administration will have to step in to try to spur the economy. The best hope of doing that is with stimulus measures to increase spending and, in the process, lessen the impending economic harm to the most vulnerable families.

Sensible. But of course, sensibility has had its hurdles this decade:

Unfortunately, there is no sign that President Bush — for whom tax cuts are always the answer no matter the question — realizes what is needed. After meeting with his economic advisers on Friday, just hours after the release of the jobs report, he insisted that the best economic move now is for Congress to work with him to “make sure taxes remain low.” A day earlier, one of his aides told reporters that among the president’s economic priorities this year would be a push to make his signature tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, a permanent part of the tax code.

This is not news, of course, but it is a clear signal that it is way past time to take that Lame Duck’s toys away and send him to his bedroom for a time out. Congress, to date, has not shown that kind of — to use George Lakoff’s phrase — “strict father morality.” If anything, the Democrats have played the part of a beleagured Mom unable to deal with her out-of-control adolescent while the Republicans have played a part something like Christopher Walken’s Frank Abagnale, Sr. in Catch Me if You Can: snickering with delight at his son’s clever misdeeds.

Nancy Pelosi is initiating the family drama to which we’ve become accustomed:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already appointed a team of lawmakers to devise a stimulus plan that could be adopted quickly if conditions worsen. The toughest part of their task will be getting the White House to finally recognize that more tax cuts is not what the country needs and will not head off a recession.

And this will be her test. Give them a choice: either her stimulus package or the Republicans can sink like the Whigs in November by going along with W.’s Herbert Hoover routine.

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