Kent Conrad, Meet David Brooks
Is there an echo in here?
In The New York Times today, op-ed columnist David Brooks blasts the Democrats’ House-passed stimulus package with the charge that it doesn’t meet the “timely, targeted and temporary” criteria pushed by supporters:
In a fateful decision, Democratic leaders merged the temporary stimulus measure with their permanent domestic agenda — including big increases for Pell Grants, alternative energy subsidies and health and entitlement spending. The resulting package is part temporary and part permanent, part timely and part untimely, part targeted and part untargeted.
Fast-forward a few hours, and you’ll find Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, telling Fox News pretty much the same thing:
I’d have a very hard time voting for what came over from the House. While there is much in it that’s laudable and good, there are other areas of the package that I think, really, are very questionable in terms of whether they’d stimulate the economy. Some of the programs that are given money only have 10 percent spent out in the next two years. Look, I think that would just be a mistake.
One of the tests is that programs have to be temporary. Another test is timely. And some of these things that are in the package just don’t meet those tests.
Conrad says he wants more money targeting the foreclosure crisis, including an increase in the tax credit — currently $7,500 in the House bill — for new home-buyers.
Strap in. This debate is just beginning.