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Stimulus Stagnation: Bipartisanship Is Sunk

Lawmakers who actually care about the fate of the U.S. economy are furious.

Despite a lofty launch last week, the good ship Bipartisan is sunk, at least so far as the economic stimulus is concerned. President Barack Obama and House Democrats bent over backwards to appease the GOP by including several tax breaks and excluding a major anti-foreclosure measure from the package, but when it came time to vote, zero House Republican backed the bill. Lawmakers who actually care about the fate of the U.S. economy are furious. Every day spent haggling with obstinate Republicans means heavier economic damage. What's more, many of the tax breaks the GOP insisted on are simply terrible policies, whatever the economic climate.

"Not surprisingly, some Democrats who did deal with the GOP as if they were reasonable want to reverse the concessions they gave up," Steven Benen writes for The Washington Monthly. Even some conservative economists want to strip out the Republican provisions. On this week's Stimulus Plan NewsLadder, many reporters and bloggers respond to Martin Feldstein's newfound opposition to the stimulus package, as revealed in a Washington Post op-ed. Feldstein, who was chief economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan, initially come out in support of the package but recently reversed his opinion, but on suprising grounds. While progressives have noted that some of Feldstein's criticisms of the House bill are off-base, they have also emphasized that his take on several stimulus plan tax cuts, actually come from the ideological left. As blogger Dylan Matthews put it in a guest blog for Ezra Klein at The American Prospect: "You know when your stimulus package is too cautious? When Marty Feldstein is attacking it from the left."