With Republicans poised to take over the House, the door to stimulus spending seems all but closed. Liberal commentators have tried to press the White House to do more, and Democrats have tried to introduce new legislation on Capitol Hill. But last year's $800 stimulus splash has been followed only by smaller daubs of cash, such as unemployment extensions and targeted payroll tax relief.
But there is still a small chance that even after a dominant GOP sweep, the liberal dream of more stimulus could still have a heart-beat. The savior might even be their mortal enemy: the president appointed deficit-commission.
In early December, a group of electeds and experts led by two former senators, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, will likely report to the president with a bipartisan recommendation for reducing the deficit by 2015 (unless they can't reach a solution).
The recommendations will receive an up-or-down vote in Congress without amendments. That means Washington has to either accept the recommendation verbatim, or reject it entirely.
Liberals have mostly slammed the commission as either feckless or dangerous: feckless, because deficit-reduction seems beyond the scope of our hyperpartisanship, and dangerous, because a bipartisan deficit plan will almost certainty trim Social Security and cut spending. But what if the commission shocks the political world and calls for more short-term stimulus to go along with the medium- and long-term cuts?