With the Senate passing its version of the stimulus package, the stimulus, or “spendulous” bill as some call it, was likely to pass both houses as early as the end of this week. Reasonable people will disagree vehemently on the impact of this bill both positively and negatively, but it is a historic moment. A bill that will spend well over $800 billion when combined with earlier measures, makes this one of the most significant endeavors ever undertaken by our government.
The resulting 1,071-page bill knocked out in committee, which insiders admit few will have a chance to read before it’s voted on, is on a fast track for passage today. Previously, Democrats had promised that the public would have 48 hours to digest the bill and its provisions before a final vote. That pledge appears to have gone out the window. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote on Twitter, “Those in favor of speed over commonsense may just be afraid of letting the People know what they are ramming through.”
The biggest benefit of the stimulus package may not have anything to do with the bill itself, but that it signals a shift in rhetoric from the leadership. This bill was a tremendous political opportunity in terms of effecting change, but it was opposed by the majority of Americans.
The sad result was that political leaders had to adopt the tactic of making sure that people understood it was needed and needed quickly. This tactic led to a steady stream of claims asserting that conditions were dire and the economy was on the verge of permanent disaster.
The inevitable cycle was jumpstarted as a result – expenditures decreased, business revenues declined, layoffs skyrocketed, concern grew, and the trough grew deeper and more serious with each passing day. Hopefully, with the stimulus package now done, the leadership will begin the work of rebuilding the consumer confidence it’s worked so hard to tear down as a strategy in getting the bill passed.