Monday, 29 October 2001 : "David Brooks, Mark Shields on stimulus and security"
You know a party's wandering off course when even its friends start deriding its actions in public... read David Brooks (and Mark Shields) on the 'stimulus' [snort] package passed by the House:
Online NewsHour : Political Wrap from Shields and Brooks [PBS]
BROOKS: Well, at Christmas time kids write out their wish list for Santa Claus and the House Republicans wrote out their wish list. They sent it up and it's not going to pass. And on why no airport security fixes have been passed in six weeks:
Some things in the House bill will pass, will go into the Senate bill and will finally get reconciled. There are some good ideas and a lot of horrible ideas.
There's a lot of weirdly anti-free market, anti-conservative ideas. It's not a free market idea to think that you can plan a stimulus package that will perfectly time a boom. It's not a free market idea to think you can, you know, suddenly manipulate the economy to create a recovery. Milton Friedman never believed in that. Yet the Republicans are just hopping on board throwing in all sorts of junk into this thing. It's just what they want. But it's a foolish idea that is losing support. I think it will lose support and will certainly shrink as the Senate and the White House grapple with it.
SHIELDS: ...Take the case of Enron, a Texas energy company very close to President Bush, they gave $1.8 million to Republican candidates and committees. ... Talk about a return on investment. They under the repeal of the alternative minimum tax get $254 million back. ... Jim, I have to tell you alternative minimum tax was signed into law by that notorious liberal leftist Ronald Reagan in 1986.
BROOKS: I had a feeling Mark would bring this up but it's not sporting of you; it's like shooting fish in a barrel, because this is the stupidest provision of the law.
My only theory of why it's in there is every once in a while each party has to put a provision in the law which confirms all the stereotypes of their enemies. That's what this is.
BROOKS: People on both sides of Capitol Hill are debating how many federalized airport security workers can dance on the head of a pin. It's sort of appalling that this has gone on for six, eight weeks.In this fight between Lott and Delay, I'm with Trent Lott[!], but either way something should get settled ASAP. If something passes the Senate 100-0, the House should find some way to get an answering bill passed; shame on Mr. Delay.
The argument is over whether these 28,000 security workers we're going to have checking our bags and other things should be part of the federal government or should be supervised by the federal government but privately run, which is what they do in Israel and Europe.
There's valid arguments on both sides. The appalling thing is that they're arguing about this...
SHIELDS: ...It passed the Senate 100-0, Jim, with ... federalization, with liberals like Phil Gramm of Texas and Trent Lott of Mississippi all voting for it.
What's holding it up in the House is a small band of Republicans led by Tom Delay of Texas, Dick Armey of Texas...
BROOKS: ...To be fair the Democrats could also say, okay, your plan is acceptable. They're both acceptable. The Republicans want what Israel does and what Europe does. It's not out of the realm of the possibility. So I think both parties are really responsible for the delay in this.
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