West meets EastJapan tried 10 stimulus packages in the 1990s, and syndicated columnist Paul Greenberg writes they did nothing to help unemployment or the country’s national economy. Greenberg compares Japan’s failed efforts at subsidizing banks and industries to what is going on now in the United States, and calls a "super-sized mistake” Washington’s efforts to keep the American automakers afloat. "These corporate leviathans are a money hole. The only thing sure about the next bailout is that still another will be demanded.” Keep up the corporate welfare, he predicts, and the West may find itself mirroring the 1990s failure of the East.
Crushing choicePresident Barack Obama may have to buck members of his own party to live up to his televised vow to reform education. The Wall Street Journal pointed out in a recent editorial that Democrats in Congress want to "crush” the nation’s only federally funded school voucher program that allows 1,700 poor Washington, D.C., children to attend private schools. Obama spoke favorably of charter schools and opportunities for children. He’ll soon get a chance to either back up his words or close the door of opportunity in the face of those D.C. children.
Cluck, cluck, cluckTalk about laying an egg! Tom Bevan at realclearpolitics.com writes that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal bombed last week in delivering the Republican response to President Obama’s speech to Congress. "He didn’t look relaxed, powerful or commanding, and his delivery was so poor and sing-song like that it came across almost cartoonish,” Bevan writes. "That tells you not only how difficult those rebuttal speeches are, but also just how much of a skill public speaking is and how much Jindal needs to improve his skills if he has aspirations for higher office.”
Gaffe trackJoe Biden is at it again: shooting from the lip. Leon H. Wolf at redstate.com comments on Biden’s most recent gaffe — trying to needle Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Asked by an interviewer about Jindal’s drawing a distinction between the way Republicans and Democrats view the economy, Biden scoffed at what Jindal might do about the recession, saying Louisiana was losing 400 jobs a day. Yet Wolf writes that state statistics for December, the most recent month available, show Louisiana gained 3,700 jobs. "My guess, of course, is that this isn’t a case where Biden knew the correct statistics and intentionally lied about what they were,” Wolf said. "My guess is that Biden was simply on a roll, needed a talking point about Bobby Jindal, and just went back to the well that had served him well lo these many years: making stuff up as he went along.”
Beyond fearThe "we’re going to survive” message coming from the Obama administration last week had some interesting timing, points out Tulsa blogger Stan Geiger at stan-geiger.com. He wondered, could it be repeated mentions of the Great Depression were scaring people and thus hurting the economy? "Then again, it could be the need for the dire warnings has expired. TARP II is good to go. The ‘stimulus package’ has been passed. Uncle Sam is committed to borrowing over a trillion bucks for bankster bailouts and pet pork projects all across the land. So putting grand fears into the hearts and minds of the populace is no longer necessary.” Or, Geiger suggests, perhaps it’s both.