The Republicans are gamely trying to hold back the tide as Congressional Democrats put hundreds of billions in a new “stimulus” package. Rep. John Boehner puts out a release decrying the “massive new spending” in the form of a $300B goodie bag. But here’s the thing: it is starting not to sound like so much money. If we spend $700B on the bailout, $250B of which goes to back recapitalization it doesn’t seem as objectionable to start handing out treats to lots of people.
Other than saying “no” and trying to explain why $300B is appalling while $700B wasn’t, it might be a good idea for Republicans to start explaining why this money isn’t well spent and what type of spending or tax breaks would help. The public has now become inured to mega-government action, so perhaps the best one can hope for is more productive use of funds. Here’s a bold — albeit not politically popular idea — cut or eliminate corporate taxes for a bit.
Unfortunately for fiscal conservatives, we have long passed the point where simply pointing to the price tag is enough to dissuade voters that something is a bad idea. The best they might do is to ask: but will it work?