(p. A11) The final bill was privately agreed by most and publicly conceded by many to be a big, messy, largely off-point and philosophically chaotic piece of legislation. The Congressional Budget Office says only 25% of the money will even go out in the first year. This newspaper, in its analysis, argues that only 12 cents of every dollar is for something that could plausibly be called stimulus.
What was needed? Not pork, not payoffs, not eccentric base-pleasing, group-greasing forays into birth control as stimulus, . . .
. . .
I think there is an illness called Goldmansachs Head. . . . When you have Goldmansachs Head, the party’s never over. You take private planes to ask for bailout money, you entertain customers at high-end spas while your writers prep your testimony, you take and give huge bonuses as the company tanks. When you take the kids camping, you bring a private chef. Goldmansachs Head is Bernie Madoff complaining he’s feeling cooped up in the penthouse. It is the delusion that the old days continue and the old ways prevail and you, Prince of the Abundance, can just keep rolling along. Here is how you know if someone has GSH: He has everything but a watch. He doesn’t know what time it is.
. . .
But you don’t have to be on Wall Street to have GSH. Congress has it too. That’s what the stimulus bill was about–not knowing what time it is, not knowing the old pork-barrel, group-greasing ways are over, done, embarrassing. When you create a bill like that, it doesn’t mean you’re a pro, it doesn’t mean you’re a tough, no-nonsense pol. It means you’re a slob.
That’s how the Democratic establishment in the House looks, not like people who are responding to a crisis, or even like people who are ignoring a crisis, but people who are using a crisis.
For the full commentary, see:
PEGGY NOONAN. “OPINION; DECLARATIONS; Look at the Time.” Wall Street Journal (Sat., JANUARY 30, 2009): A11.
(Note: ellipses added.)