At just $788,999,999,999.99, a price even Susan Collins can believe in

Politics, US Politics

A P.S. on the silliness of the strutting centrists: Ezra picked up on this:

Senator Collins said getting the final number to under $800 billion was more than symbolic; it meant “a fiscally responsible number,” she said.

(Image shared under CC license by scriptingnews)

(Image shared under CC license by scriptingnews)

Because $820 billion or $838 billion is pork-laden waste, but $789 billion is “fiscally responsible”. Because, you know, it’s a vanity percentage less than the original proposal – so, by definition that’s mission accomplished right there. It’s almost as if she set out to illustrate Ross Douthat’s point (“if the GOP wants, say, $500 billion in tax cuts, the country clearly needs $400 billion in tax cuts – but not a penny more! And if the Democrats want $900 billion in stimulus, then the best possible policy outcome must be … $800 billion in stimulus!”).

As Ezra writes, “I am just continually amazed that the press uncritically accepts nonsense like this from our politicians”. Because symbolism is exactly all the shtick of these people is about. The number needed to be just under $800 billion, no matter what worthy and effective random items had to be scrapped for it, so Collins c.s. could go home and claim their status as official moderate guardians of prudency. Never mind that they never seemed to use any internally coherent set of criteria to arrive at their conclusion of what would be acceptable. As commenter Jeebus snarked on Ezra’s post: “They should have made it $799,999,999,999.99.”

Never mind though, because this, from another commenter, seems about right, if I’m not being too enthusiastic off the cuff on the basis of a couple of news reports: “Sen. Collins was pwnd. She required some big changes in the first Senate bill, and mentioned that she wanted the cost to be about 800 billion instead of 900B. So the conferees cut the plan to less than 800B and took out most of her bad changes, leaving her no alternative but to back the bill as ‘responsible’.”

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