Since the other Chris is gone, the junior writer, elfasbrynja, would like to step in.
I voted for Obama last year and I appreciate how he has already rolled back a lot of stupid Bush administration policies. In terms of social and scientific policy, at least, he’s doing markedly better than what I would have expected from a McBush presidency.
However, I am starting to look sourly on his stimulus bill. A recent New York Times op-ed, Stimulus for Skeptics sums everything up best.
That’s not a recipe for doing nothing. It’s a recipe for skepticism. And it leads to some guiding principles for those designing the $500 billion stimulus plan the next administration seems set on: Don’t just throw more money into the sugar rush. Spend money on projects that will enhance the long-term economic health of the country even without a crisis. Do what you would do anyway, just do it faster.
And yet so many are willing to throw money at a sugar rush, because of partisanship, the cancer that is destroying this country. Many on the left are now coming out and saying that every sensible economist agrees with stimulus. That’s just not the case. Many have pointed out—rightly so—that it is full of teensy-weensy tax exemptions and special interest projects that won’t do much good in the long run. There are some good things, like support for high-speed rail, which is a long term gain, but on the whole it’s going to plunge us deeper into astronomical debt, continued from Raygun and Bush I and II, from which we will recover only after many decades.
I’m really disappointed in the childish polarization we see in both parties today, which casts the whole policy debate in terms of false binary choices, which both tend to be the wrong ones. I’m really disappointed in the dogma, too. It seems people are more willing to toe their respective party lines unswervingly than to steer clear of intellectual laziness and actually bother to listen to what other people are saying.
I don’t hate the USA, but if we keep up this horseshit, we no longer deserve to be the leading world power.
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