This morning we were out in force on television, debating the efficacyof HR 1, President Obama’s Economic Recovery Act. Like others, I’vepushed for more spending on infrastructure and a bolder plan, but it’sundeniable that the bill is an important shot in the arm for states andlocal jurisdictions facing massive layoffs and suspension of services.The bill also represents one of the single largest investments in publiceducation in our nation’s history.
Some have argued for a return to the past, pushing tax cuts overspending and a reliance on the same failed Bush/Cheney policies thatlost us hundreds of thousands of jobs (not to mention two elections forthe Republicans.) But as HR-1 heads to the Senate, what is the impact ofthe bill for Americans hurting most from the recession? Today onDemocracy Now, The Nation‘s William Greider ridiculed charges that thestimulus package is “socialism,” and parsed the politics of therecovery bill.
Greider goes on to argue that the stimulus must be coupled with moreaggressive government regulation. You can see the second and third partsof his interview here.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, I discussed the recovery act with the Chairperson of Black Entertainment Television, Debra Lee. Theconversation turned to regulation and changing Washington, DC, but Leeand I struggled to shift the conversation back to the topic that mattersmost: the economic conditions on the ground for millions ofAmericans facing foreclosure, unemployment and mounting debt.
In our new book, Meltdown, longtime contributors to The Nation shed somelight on how we got into this terrible crisis, and how greed andcorruption shattered our financial system. But the debate on how torecover and how to move our economy forward will be divisive and hardfought. Already, free-market extremists are digging in for the battle ofa generation. Yesterday’s vote was an important step–a step in whatwill be a long road back for many Americans. As Bill said on DemocracyNow this morning, we can only hope that American’s who are struggling tokeep the lights and the heat on, and keep their families fed don’t getlost in the politics.