Hold On, It’s Worse Than You Thought

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According to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, everything is “faster, heavier and more likely to collide.”

ALSO: While the galaxy may be much bigger than we knew, Paul Krugman fears that the stimulus, which will be a number followed by 11 or 12 zeros, is going to be too small to work. He does a bunch of math, and then concludes:

I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.” Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.

That last part is clearly the political outcome that Republicans are quietly hoping will happen. The alternative–Obama and his big government intervention saves the day–poses a near-existential threat to the Republican Party, as I wrote here. And there may be a historical precedent for this secret Republican hope. Republicans still feel burned for not getting credit for what they argue were the stimulative effects of the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. (The post-September 11 recession messed everything up, they say.) They know it’s a hard sell to tell the American people: “Well everything sucks, and you are not as well off, but if we didn’t sharply increase the national debt and spend your money it would be much worse.” That’s the line Henry Paulson has essentially taken with the TARP spending, and though he is almost certainly right, it’s not the sort of message Democrats want to be taking to the polls in 2010.