Couple of GOP Senators cross, so the stimulus will pass

Looks like Collins, Snowe and possibly Spector crossed over to support the stimulus bill. The Republicans are conceding that it’s a done deal, so now I believe it is.

Some thoughts:

The tactics of the hard-line conservative talking heads continue to disgust. Tonight I found myself yet again hearing someone on Fox News say something provocative in a definitive way — in this case, that the CBO is projecting a decrease in GDP over the next three years if the stimulus package passes — then going to the source and finding out that the exact opposite is true.

Having an opposing viewpoint is one thing — we actually need that as a country. But so-called “pundits” on both sides who distort the truth to support their rigid ideology and influence people who may not have the time or interest to investigate the facts are the bottom of the barrel.

Having slammed Fox News above, and in the interest of balanced critique, I’ll refer you to my friend and former colleague John Kreiss, who is aghast at Rep. Barney Frank’s views on limiting CEO pay for companies that are not part of the bailout.

While the GOP clearly sees this stimulus debate as an opportunity to paint the new administration as another incarnation of the same old tax-and-spend Democrats, it seems apparent that the Republicans weren’t really given a seat at the table when the House and Senate formulated their packages.

Personally, and for the sake of the AEC industry, I would have liked to see more Republican influence in the final package. Forget the rhetoric about ultimate frisbee parks and state government bureaucracy run amok; the problem is that the bill is laden with too many provisions that might be worthy, but that don’t belong in an economic stimulus bill (e.g., distance learning programs, child nutrition assistance). There should be more for infrastructure, in lieu of these pet projects.

If the bill does pass this weekend or early next week, as expected, at least we’ll finally know what we’re dealing with. In the March issue of PSMJ newsletter, I’ll address what the final package means to the industry and how, if at all, the result is different from the expectations included in my report published last month by PSMJ.

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