"Never let a serious crisis go to waste ..."
What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
So Rahm Emmanuel is quoted as saying in the gripping opening paragraph of the WSJ's review of the stimulus package entitled "A 40-Year Wish List". It argues that the "stimulus package" can properly be described as a national renovation aimed at fulfilling every liberal wish of the last 4 decades.
We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.
In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make "dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy." Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There's another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities. Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus.
As for the other 88 cents on the dollar, don't ask. Just read the rest for yourself. It's going into the trough. Nothing you can do will stop it. At best, you might get some if you start on it soon. So get your choppers clattering for all they're worth. Swill and forget. Circe would have understood.
Simply remember that whatever opinions you come away or whatever dignity you may dimly recall with won't for the moment matter. Because as Joy Behar said on Larry King, it is hard to make fun of the new administration unless it is at the expense of Biden and Palin, who were born for comic relief. As for Obama, don't even think about it. We're in a special time.
KING: OK, is this administration going to be hard for the comics to have fun with?
BEHAR: Yes. And all I can say is thank you for Joe Biden, because he is going to always give us some laughs. He'll say something crazy and out there, and it will be fun. And Sarah Palin, you know, we can always rely on her to come back and give us some material. But it is really not easy to make fun of the Obamas, because they're really -- they're kind of really perfect, aren't they?
And in case you think Joy Behar is joking, ask yourself this: what are the odds that Obama won't get his 40 year wish list?