A Long Two Years

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who called taxpaying tourists “smelly” the other day, is up for reelection in two years. Great way to start a campaign.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won’t move legislation to provide a bridge loan to the auto companies, but she will blame the Bush administration for not using money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program for the same purpose. She also won’t allow the $25 billion that Congress enacted a couple months ago for the auto companies for retooling to be used now to help the companies survive. Hard to retool when you are out of business. She also said that bankruptcy is not an option. But if she won’t do anything, it is the only option.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank said today that President-elect Obama has not done enough to help the auto industry. He might be right, but Obama is not yet president, and so far has shown little interest in backing the unions over the environmentalists.

The unemployment rate is slowly inching up, as further job losses were announced today. It can’t give those who are unemployed much comfort in seeing how Congress has reacted thus far to the crisis.

The House Democrats kicked out the best friend that the auto industry has ever had, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), from his Energy and Commerce Committee Chairmanship and replaced him with a left-wing ideologue whose principal interest is grilling businesses, promoting unrealistic and duplicative regulations and advancing the same kind of agenda that has made California an economic basket case.

Barack Obama has confounded the pundits by picking a team of rivals who not only fundamentally disagree on many issues, but have personal conflicts. Bill Richardson, the new Commerce secretary, is a persona not grata in the house of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Richardson was called, among other things, a Benedict Arnold by Clinton allies. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has loudly criticized the campaign promises of his new boss, Obama, calling his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq irresponsible and unrealistic. Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are free-traders who must feel uncomfortable with the Obama plan to suspend negotiations on free trade agreements. They also must feel uncomfortable with the left-wing, anti-capitalist rhetoric that comes from the hard left of the Democratic Party, otherwise known as Obama’s base.

The Democrats seem to want to push a massive infrastructure program as a way to stimulate the economy. Infrastructure is important, but most evidence shows that it won’t do much as far as stimulus goes.

Nobody in the Democratic Party is talking about ways to increase incentives to investors, stop the high costs of litigation and regulation that kills economic growth, and come up with a plan to grow the private sector. Nope — for the Democrats, it is all about increasing government spending.

This is going to be a long two years. I hope those smelly tourists don’t come to Washington and upset poor Harry Reid.

On the other hand, maybe I do.


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