For Immediate Release


Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Stimulus and the "Destructive Center"


Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman writes today in a piece titled "The Destructive Center":
"What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of
American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition,
undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who
flip their houses?

"A proud centrist. For that is what the senators who ended up calling the tune on the stimulus bill just accomplished."

Senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Collins said today:
"This stimulus bill is part of the medicine the economy needs right
now, especially aid to states. The centrist senators are blocking the
pharmacy door."

Collins is co-author of a new comic book, The Economic Meltdown Funnies. He also recently wrote the piece "The Audacity of CEO Greed," syndicated by McClatchy.

Henwood is author of the book Wall Street and editor of Left Business Observer.
He said today: "The trouble the stimulus program is facing is directly
traceable to Obama's strange and pointless fantasy of being
post-partisan. There's no way around conflict in politics -- people
have different interests and different worldviews, and there's no way
to finesse that. It's especially odd when he's trying to court a party
as bullheaded as the Republicans, whose partisan strategy now looks to
be to hope his administration fails so they can win in 2012. Most of
their other ideas have proven antiquated and disastrous, but they seem
willing to drive the economy into the ditch as their principal
electoral strategy.

"But perhaps Obama's fundamental problem is that he has no firm
political philosophy, other than an empty pragmatism driven by his own
ambition. Meanwhile, the leaks emerging about the rejiggering of the
TARP make it look like the plan is to subsidize hedge funds to get them
to buy toxic assets and then guarantee them against losses. This looks
like a big gift to a group that wrote the Obama campaign big checks
throughout 2007 and 2008 -- could it be as cynical as payback? Because
it's hard to figure out what the public gets out of this arrangement."


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