Would I Have Voted No?

That's a good question. It's also a silly one, since the odds of my being a Republican Congressman as a married man are nil (they only want you to have a stable family life if you're straight). I'm not an economist and so it's very hard for me to judge how big a stimulus we now need to avoid further meltdown. But the more I've looked at the Democratic proposal the more Christmas-tree-like and amorphous and slow it appears. I have no problems with some big infrastructure spending now; or the tax cuts in the bill; or even some of the things (like sodding the Mall) that the GOP have demagogued.

But I'd vote no to this bill nonetheless for reasons Megan explains more elegantly than I can. The vast expansion of social spending from 2010 on is more Bush-style welfarism than pragmatic recession-mitigation. I don't have to be re-elected, of course, and I might feel differently if my constituents were feeling the kind of pain so many are now going through. But this strikes me as too much. Politically, the GOP's gracelessness and indifference to their own recent record is very risky in some ways. But in other ways, it's healthy.

I want the Republicans to rediscover fiscal responsibility. Someone has to. That this rediscovery happens in the middle of the worst downturn since the 1930s may make it politically suicidal in the short term. But in the long run, it's part of the solution. Do it with a little less ugliness and sneering, and you could even begin to persuade some people in the middle.

Now: entitlements. That's where the real money is.