The Democrats are getting nervous about the unemployment numbers. No, the stimulus plan didn’t stimulate the jobs, as it promised. Remember the 2.5 — or was it 3 or 4? — million jobs to be saved or created? No one can argue with a straight face (other than Joe Biden, that is) that it was a success.
But sure enough, there’s talk of a second stimulus plan. It’s just important to get the labeling right, Roll Call tells us:
Just don’t call the as-yet-unwritten new proposal “stimulus,” they insist. “The Speaker never used the word stimulus,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, moments after the California Democrat listed a laundry list of stimulus items under consideration last week, including an extension of unemployment benefits. Not that they have a name yet for what they want to call the package. “It’s an ongoing effort to build on the recovery package and other measures we passed this year to grow the economy and create jobs after years of mismanagement by Republicans,” Elshami insisted later. “It’s about jobs.”
They think calling a government boondoggle by another name and going to the well of Bush-bashing will do the trick. But that probably won’t work. As Roll Call notes, this posturing has merely “opened the door to a fresh flood of criticism from Republicans who have declared the earlier $787 billion stimulus package a failure and set off a race to the trough by every K Street lobbyist worth his or her salt.” Understandably, Republican lawmakers are having a field day, and they are more than content not only to point out the failure of the original stimulus but to focus on the mound of debt as well.
The Democrats could, of course, rip up the old stimulus and redirect that money to more useful endeavors. The F-22 production line, for example, if reactivated would save 95,000 jobs right off the bat. Or they could forget the junk pile of liberal programs and instead enact some across-the-board tax relief for employers. Better yet: put the kabosh on any new taxes — including all those in the health-care tax-a-thon.
Well, none of that is happening while the Democrats are in charge. And that, one can safely predict, will be what the 2010 elections are all about.