Sen. Harkin: Obama’s Plan looks like trickle-down

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

From TPM:

Democratic senators are still emerging from their closed-door briefing with Obama economic adviser Larry Summers … but a senior Democratic senator, Iowa progressive Tom Harkin, just gave me a dire buzzword: trickle-down.

There’s only one thing we’ve got to do in this stimulus, and that’s create jobs,” Harkin told me. “I’m a little concerned by the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this … it still looks a little more to me like trickle-down.”

Likening Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan to the failed supply-side excesses of the Reagan and Bush years is a bit of a Cassandra moment. But Harkin didn’t back down. “What I’m hearing from Mr. Summers is that they’ve got a different approach — tax breaks, and this and that,” he said. Harkin warned that, much like the outcome of George Bush’s $600 stimulus package last year, recipients of quick tax cuts “are going to be salting it away, not spending it.”…

Damn, I love Harkin. A Dem willing to stand up for working people.  

Congress will have to fix Obama’s plan.  This is why many of us criticized Summers when so many on Daily Kos said Obama made policy.   Whether it’s Obama or Summers, or both, it’s too much trickle down and it’s the wrong way.

Meanwhile, Pelosi stepped up.  Now, I know people are disappointed with her on impeachment and other things, but she is to the left of Obama:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she wants to see the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy repealed “as early as possible.”

The call for repeal may place Pelosi at odds with President-elect Obama; during the campaign he called for repeal but his aides have since indicated that due to the deteriorating economy, he was leaning towards allowing them to expire.

Asked again after her press conference about the tax cuts, the Speaker said she is “urging repeal.”

Pelosi noted that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the tax cuts are the biggest contributor to the ballooning deficit. “Put me down as clearly as you possibly can as one who wants to have those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans repealed,” she said.…

And Senators Kerry, Conrad and Wyden are stepping up:

WASHINGTON-President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed tax cuts ran into opposition Thursday from senators in his own party who said they wouldn’t do much to stimulate the economy or create jobs.

Senators from both parties agreed that Congress should do something to stimulate the economy. But Democratic senators emerging from a private meeting of the Senate Finance Committee criticized business and individual tax cuts in Obama’s stimulus plan.

They were especially critical of a proposed $3,000 tax credit for companies that hire or retrain workers.

“If I’m a business person, it’s unlikely if you give me a several-thousand-dollar credit that I’m going to hire people if I can’t sell the products they’re producing,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a member of the committee.

“That to me is just misdirected,” Conrad said.

Sen John Kerry, D-Mass., said, “I’d rather spend the money on the infrastructure, on direct investment, on energy conversion, on other kinds of things that much more directly, much more rapidly and much more certainly create a real job.”

The cost of the economic rescue package Obama wants is expected to swell to $800 billion or more. About $300 billion of Obama’s package would be for tax cuts or refunds for individuals and businesses.


Rep. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he doubted that a modest tax cut would change consumers’ spending habits.

“In tough times people don’t respond all that well to marginal changes, such as a small amount of money added per paycheck,” Wyden said.…

The Democratic Party and the progressive movement are much, much more than Barack Obama.


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    • TomP on January 9, 2009 at 00:14

    trickle down!

    • Edger on January 9, 2009 at 01:17

    withdrawal from Iraq “as early as possible” also, in the run-up to the 2006 midterms. I suppose she’s still waiting for “as early as possible” to arrive? :-/

    • dkmich on January 9, 2009 at 12:00

    Now, here is an AP source on the absence of Howard Dean at new DNC chair Tim Kaine’s press event today (emphasis mine):

    “My understanding is that he’s traveling, so he couldn’t attend,” said Tommy Vietor, an Obama spokesman.

    Obama’s transition officials, however, did not immediately respond when asked whether the former Vermont governor was invited to appear alongside the president-elect and Dean’s successor at the news conference.

    But Democrats with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Obama team, say Dean won’t attend the event at the request of Obama advisers.blockquote>

    Howard Dean, an important figure for the progressive grassroots, appears to have been intentionally snubbed at Tim Kaine’s press event. Tom Harkin doesn’t feel as though widespread Democrats concerns over business tax cuts in the stimulus package are even being addressed in meetings with the Obama economic team. This worrying suggests that progressives aren’t even invited to the conservation over the stimulus and how to operate the DNC.

    And here is the kicker: it is highly likely that while progressives are being snubbed, the business tax cuts were added to the stimulus in order to attract unnecessary, and entirely symbolic, support from a significant number Republicans.

    Lets add in Obama chumming the water with our Social Security, and we have another lying sack of politician in the WH.   All I can say is how happy I am that I never donated a dime.  

  1. I agree with Harkin about the problems ‘trickle down’ and people putting money under mattresses.  

    But, I disagree strongly with this:

    There’s only one thing we’ve got to do in this stimulus, and that’s create jobs

    Can we afford not to targeting this “job creation” on making the society stronger for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?  This can’t just be JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! No, we must Change our near-term thinking and also be Thinking About Tomorrow amid today’s crises and today’s actions.

    That is why I am such a strong advocate of a ‘green stimulus’, because we can make some very profound steps toward a better future while providing some of the most cost effective paths toward job creation in the near term.

    • TomP on January 9, 2009 at 19:43

    Progressive pushback is essential.

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