Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stupid or Venal?

I would make this my ongoing series, but since I usually come down on the side of venal, or perhaps venal stupidity that somehow feeds a huge part of the American psyche and all of the #1 cable news channel, thus shoving a crowbar in the gears of evolution.

For example, there's House Republicans criticizing a new regulation that restricts importing deadly snakes, including the Burmese Python, saying it's going to cost jobs and choke the economy in red tape. So why the regulation?

Politico reports that Florida officials, led by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), are pushing for the new rules because the Everglades are under attack by 100,000 gigantic Burmese pythons who have been accidentally introduced by negligent pet owners. The outside invaders have been on a rampage, devouring native birds and other creatures. One python grew so big that it managed to devour a six-foot alligator before exploding. No really. This actually happened. There's a photo.

Then there's this weird sick freak GOP puppethead with a diabolical look, Matthew Vadum:

"Section 261 of the bill provides $15 billion for 'Project Rebuild.' Grants would be given to 'qualified nonprofit organizations, businesses or consortia of eligible entities for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed-upon properties and for the stabilization of affected neighborhoods,'" Vadum writes.

"Radical groups like ACORN won't get the whole $15 billion, though, because they will have to compete with state and local governments for the money," he continues.

This is all, of course, contingent upon the fact that ACORN exists. Which it doesn't.

Worst of all, the Super Congress contains an either very stupid or very venal, GOP Representative, Dave Camp (R-MI):

So did CBO Director Doug Elmendorf make any headway convincing Super Committee Republicans that a). the economy needs a short term boost of near term spending and tax cuts, and b). that the country shouldn't dive headlong, and unnecessarily, into austerity?

If Dave Camp is any indication, the answer is no.


Camp's back of the envelope math during Tuesday's hearing was based on the notion that the Super Committee will reduce deficits by one percent of this year's GDP every year for 10 years.

However, as noted here, IMF economists recently warned that an austerity package of precisely that size will significantly increase unemployment and reduce wages. That's why Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is starting a drumroll to require the panel to ask CBO to estimate the jobs impact of any of their proposals.

The idea there is to make it difficult to pass deficit reduction legislation without pairing it with some near-term pro-growth spending and tax cuts. But that would mean an even larger medium term consolidation plan. And Camp says that's not looking very likely.

Of course it isn't. Dave's not here.

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