Wednesday, January 28, 2009

With Infrastructure Crumbling & Economy Reeling, Corrupt, Irresponsible Blue Dogs Cross The Aisle En Mass To Vote Against Obama's Stimulus


Something the Bush Legacy Project hasn't tackled yet-- and probably never will-- is what the Bush Regime did to basic American infrastructure-- the physical backbone of our society. Aside from the bequest of two wars and a depression, Bush has left the nation a decayed network of highways, bridges and roads, worsening public transit (including aviation), dangerously inadequate water and sewage systems and schools that are falling apart. The bill to fix what Republican governance assiduously ignored: $2.2 trillion, far more than the $825 billion Stimulus package that Republicans are whining is too much.
Overall, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the U.S. physical backbone for everything from schools and parks to dams and levees a D.

Many politically-connected businesses are busily buying up infrastructure, as we reported last May.

An integral part of the Republican Party's war on working families is its war on government. Government, they claim, can't do anything right. Of course, when they're in charge they have been able to make sure the proof is apparent. They want to reduce taxes and let the infrastructure go to hell so that the public supports selling it all off to for-profit companies and too many Democrats are too cowed-- or too coopted-- to stand up for government functions that have been delegitimized by greed obsessed Republicans.

But there is a better answer than turning it all over to Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, Morgan Stanley, and Blackwater to run. SEIU President Andy Stern and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius came up with a far better way to tackle this monstrous problem, one that puts working families, rather than corporate bottom lines, first. Their proposal, Main Street, Not Wall Street, Should Fix Crumbling U.S. Infrastructure was written before the impact of Bush's Republican Economic Miracle really kicked in, but the basic ideas are still sound. What they're proposing is addressing the infrastructure with public pension funds rather than greed obsessed banksters and corrupt contractors.
It would be a monumental mistake to turn the future of America's infrastructure over to the same crowd that brought us the subprime crisis, an economy loaded down with debt, and recession.

We should know better by now than to create a scenario where bridges and highways are sliced and diced like subprime loans into financially engineered "collateralized infrastructure obligations."

America needs a large source of stable, long-term capital to build the system of buildings, roads, and power supplies needed to sustain the country. We need a source of capital that values infrastructure because it provides a reasonable rate of return, strengthens the overall economy, and doesn't burden users with excessive fees.

Enter that source of capital:

Public pension funds, which are responsible for the retirement benefits of more than 18 million Americans, have more than $3 trillion in assets, and a long-term investment approach consistent with the stable returns that infrastructure assets generate.

Pension funds could buy and build infrastructure, putting the profits to work for the retirement of workers, not for the benefit of Wall Street CEOs.

The public strongly supports working on neglected infrastructure as a way to help pull the country out of the economic crisis Bush has left behind. As desperate partisan hacks on the far right do the bidding of their corporate paymasters, Republicans are solidifying against President Obama's Stimulus legislation. Late yesterday every single Republican in the House and 27 Blue Dog Democrats (and fellow travelers) voted against the first step in Obama's plan. For the record, these are the Democrats who crossed to aisle to betray Obama:
Mike Arcuri (Blue Dog-NY)
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)- who would have lost his primary had not Obama campaigned for him
Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR)
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)
Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL)
Bobby Bright (reactionary-AL)
Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA)
Travis Childers (reactionary-MS)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Henry Cuellar (reactionary-TX)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
Brad Ellsworth (Blue Dog-IN)
Gabby Giffords (Blue Dog-AZ)
Parker Griffith (reactionary-AL)
Paul Kanjorski (PA)
Marcy Kaptur (OH)
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD)
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)
Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA)
Michael Michaud (Blue Dog-ME)
Walt Minnick (reactionary-ID)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Loretta Sanchez (Blue Dog-CA)
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)
Zack Space (Blue Dog-OH)
Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS)

The bill squeaked by 224-199, with a note attached that an effective conservative coalition is perfectly ready to reassert itself if it doesn't get its way. The Blue Dogs not abandoning the Democrats today were Joe Baca (CA), Melissa Bean (IL), Sanford Bishop (GA), Leonard Boswell (IA), Dennis Cardoza (CA), Ben Chandler (KY), Jim Costa (CA), Lincoln Davis (TN), Bart Gordon (TN), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), Baron Hill (IN), Tim Holden (PA), Jim Matheson (UT), Dennis Moore (KS), Mike Ross (AR), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Adam Schiff (CA), John Salazar (CO), David Scott (GA), Mike Thompson (CA), John Tanner (TN), and Charlie Wilson (OH). Had they all followed their brethren across the aisle, the essential procedural bill would have been defeated.


This morning when the House voted on the first procedural question leading up to passage of Obama's Stimulus Package, every single Republican voted NO, along with 5 sleazy Blue Dogs, Marion Berry (AR), Gabby Giffords (AZ), Walt Minnick (ID, technically not a Blue Dog yet but actually even worse), Loretta Sanchez (CA), and Gene Taylor (MS).

Labels: , , ,


At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all, but many in the South. F*ck the South.

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marcy Kaptur? That's a surprise. She must be against all of the stupid tax cuts....

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see IL14 Bill Foster who won Denny Hastert's abandoned seat twice NOT on the Blue Dog list OR voting against the bill.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember when Dan Boren a number of years ago was a favorite talking head on all the DC insider shows? They spoke of him as a great new voice and a probable VP candidate. Now, he's shown his true colors, and they're blue, while his species is canine. Fetch, boy! Roll over for the Republicans! Gooood dog!

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voting against the final bill:

Boyd (FL)
Bright (AL)
Cooper (TN)
Ellsworth (IN)
Griffith (AL)
Kanjorski (PA)
Kratovil (MD)
Minnick (ID)
Peterson (MN)
Shuler (NC)
Taylor (MI)

Where are Childers, Skelton, the Georgia BlueDogs? If even those guys recognize that America voted for change, what the hell is wrong with these mentally challenged putative Democrats.

I say we primary Kanjorski.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Primarying Kanjorski is a great idea. When I lived in Stroudsburg, PA he was my congressman. He nearly lost to an even more clueless Republican in November and people in the district have become aware that he's pretty corrupt. I think a solid progressive with good communication skills could beat him and keep the seat Blue.

At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a moderate district and we can do it. As someone who was a full-time campaign staffer for a Blue America candidate in a far redder district, I know that a great candidate can get lots of traction. This district is nowhere near that, so it's winnable by a progressive alright. If we could just move Kanjorski out of the way, a solid Dem (you know, a pro-choice, pro-health care, pro-labor one?) could keep it Blue.

(I'm the same anonymous posted the last comment before yours)


Post a Comment

<< Home