Bloggers on the stimulus package

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Jan. 24 2008 6:07 PM

Stimulating!

Bloggers react to the stimulus deal reached in Congress this morning, chide Bill Clinton's campaign-trail antics, and speculate about mercury found in sushi-grade tuna.

Stimulating! After late-night negotiations, the House reached a compromise with the Bush administration on a $145 billion stimulus package that combines taxpayer rebates with one-time incentives for businesses. Bloggers' responses range from tepid to livid.

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Frank James, on the Chicago Tribune's Swamp,is pleased to see a work of bipartisanship: "It sounds like there was a true compromise, with neither side getting all of what they wanted. Conservative Republicans didn't want tax rebates going to workers who didn't pay taxes but yielded on that. … Democrats wanted expansions in food stamps and unemployment benefits but didn't make the fact that they couldn't get that a dealbreaker."

At the nonpartisan Donklephant, Justin Gardner tries to look on the bright side: "While I'm not necessarily in favor of stimulating the economy by going further into debt (huh?), I do like the compromise they came up with. The people at the bottom will spend the money they get immediately, and that's the quickest way to see a fast uptick." John Hinderaker at conservative Power Line wonders: "If more money in the hands of taxpayers and lighter tax burdens on businesses are now urgently needed to rally a slumping economy, why wouldn't it be a good idea to have lower tax burdens all the time?"

At Liberty Papers, Doug Mataconis blames the "ineffective" package on the presidential campaign: "Creating a 'temporary sense' that the economy isn't really that bad is, of course, exactly what the politicians are aiming for here. They're not aiming to actually fix what's wrong, they're aiming to make it seem like they fixed it in time for the upcoming elections. Which is why both political parties, Republican and Democrat, are behind the idea and why it's taken less than a week."

Salinger, one of the three Rhode Island conservatives at Axis of Right, can't see the deal accomplishing much: "The best way to grow the economy is to provide long-term, permanent solutions. While I don't particularly object to the tax rebates (I never mind when the government gives me back some of my money) or the write-offs, they are minor, temporary, and probably low-impact changes." Bill Jempty at Wizbang Politics sighs: "I'm skeptical about any tax rebate helping the economy. The impact could very well be slight, except for the $150 billion that will be added to the large national debt this country has. … Live for today, I think most of us are guilty of it."

Read more about the stimulus package.

Raging Bill: Bill Clinton has been attracting attention on the campaign trail, and not in a good way: He's attacking Barack Obama and the press, who he believes are shilling for Obama. Liberal bloggers, in particular, are concerned that Clinton's feisty antics will hurt his party.

Shaun Mullen, a columnist for the Moderate Voice, recounts a not-so-imaginary dream he had recently that ended when: "John McCain eked out a narrow win on Election Day not so much over Hillary Clinton as she and her destructive husband."

On his personal blog, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich laments: "I write this more out of sadness than anger. Bill Clinton's ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former President, his legacy, or his wife's campaign. Nor are they helping the Democratic party. While it may be that all is fair in love, war, and politics, it's not fair – indeed, it's demeaning – for a former President to say things that are patently untrue."

The Booman Tribune outlines Clinton's duty to his party: "[H]e does have a bigger responsibility than 'just a spouse who is aggressively campaigning' for their husband or wife. … Sadly, he is failing miserably here, and his 'aggressive campaigning' is not only making him look bad, but it is making Hillary look bad (possibly hurting her campaign), making Obama look bad, and fracturing the Democratic Party." That same unease even surfaces on a community blog at the Democratic Party Web site, with Marc C. Eades warning: "If they continue unchecked, Mr. Clinton's antics could also spell trouble for Democratic hopes in November."

Sheldon Drobny at the Huffington Post observes that Bill Clinton has shifted the campaign's focus away from the issues: "Bill Clinton is a master at Machiavellian politics by his lawyerly parsing of words. That convinces many that he is not lying. That is exactly the strategy used by Karl Rove. Is that what we want in a Presidential campaign? The end result is that the primary has now become a team sport in that woman and blacks are making decisions based upon race and gender rather than issues."

Read more about Bill Clinton on the campaign trail.

Sushi scare: Sushi lovers are in an uproar after the New York Times found high levels of mercury in the tuna served at popular sushi restaurants. Bloggers wonder how much they should be concerned.

Julie at Brooklyn Skeptic feigns fear: "I know, it's really sad. And what's even sadder is it appears the sushi samples were taken from four star restaurants, which means, who knows what's going on in the 'discounted' raw fish I occasionally purchase from the .5 star restaurants I pass on my way home from work. At this point in the game I may have already ingested a thermometer's worth of merc. You should be worried. For me."

Samuel Fromartz of Chews Wise predicts New Yorkers' response: "Fearful of mercury poisoning, eaters will shy away from tuna and restaurants will have to avoid bluefin. … The upshot: maybe bluefin will now have a chance at rebounding, if restaurants switch to other more sustainable and lower toxicity species, such as yellow fin tuna."

Read more about New York's sushi scare.

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