C-SPAN had an excellent program this morning—I caught part of the ‘Distribution of Stimulus to States’ as Joy Wilson, Counsel to the National Conference of State Legislators talked about states like California getting top federal dollars. Wilson pointed out the Democratic plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (with no Republican support) is actually a “recovery” plan rather than a stimulus plan.
“Just words” as President Barack Obama said during the campaign, but words that offer a p.r. shield if something goes wrong as many economists predict and the plan doesn’t get the economy moving.
What was interesting to me was Wilson’s claim she had no idea what a caller meant when he asked her about economic advisor Robert Reich’s comments about ‘white male construction workers.’ To be fair, Reich also mentioned ‘highly skilled professionals’ in his original statement. The gist of Reich’s statements, though, came across as directing federal dollars to the long-time unemployed and minorities—no big change in Democratic politics there. You can see the video below and decide for yourself.
Once bloggers started a conversation about Reich’s statements, scathing criticism emerged especially from conservative media. Reich wrote about what he really meant at his blog. In ‘An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin,’ he wrote, “In the last few days, manifestly distorting my words and pulling them out of context, you have accused me of wanting to exclude white males from jobs generated by the stimulus package. Anyone who takes a moment to examine what I actually said and wrote knows this to be an absurd misrepresentation of my position.” [Jan. 24, 2009]
Video is the problem. Reich made it clear ‘white male construction workers’ and highly skilled professionals are not part of the stimulus-become-recovery plan. And if you read the whole plan as I did yesterday, it will become painfully obvious what this “recovery” plan really embodies—a means of paying for all those votes in the November election. Too bad white male construction workers or highly skilled professionals who may have voted a Democratic ticket are left in the cold.
What’s more bothersome is lack of dialog in mainstream media about Reich’s statement. Identity politics is the single most divisive tactic employed in our country’s political narrative today, and the Democratic Party relies on identity politics to win elections and the hearts of liberal media.
The recovery package is a handout package. Read it and weep. Economists disagree on whether the package will do any good. We’re still paying for Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson’s disastrous handouts and policies. And the next item on our taxpayer bill will be the new package that would more appropriately be labeled, “The Democratic Party Payback” package. Because if you’re not the right color or if you are educated, if you're a tax payer rather than a tax recipient, you will certainly not benefit. If you pay taxes, you’re already at the end of the receiving line when it comes to benefits from federal dollars.
Reich said what he said. There’s no point in trying to dress his remarks up in ideology and it defies logic for him to blame conservative media for talking about what was said. Better to be a man and stand by what he said. Just another politico doing business the same way it's always been done. Hardly a reflection of change promised by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) when her party assumed control of Congress more than two years ago.