Senator Tom Harkin was right to warn in a conference call with reporters today that the economic stimulus bill may be too small.
He is also right to be concerned about the tax-cut provisions. Tax cuts that put more money into the hands of people in high income brackets (such as fixing the alternative minimum tax) will not necessarily boost consumer spending.
He is right about this too:
Harkin said the bill must be seen as more than an immediate jump-start for the ailing economy, and therefore lawmakers should not be timid about its potential.
"This is not just a stimulus bill to put someone to work right now," Harkin said. "That's important and we will do that. But we are also going to do things that lay the groundwork for a solid recovery in the future."
Harkin wants the bill to put more money into renewable fuels and less money into so-called "clean coal":
"We're putting money into clean coal technology," he said. "There's no such thing."
Speaking of senators who are right about things, Here's John Kerry on the stimulus:
Reacting to Wednesday night's vote in the House - where not a single GOP member supported the stimulus package - Kerry told Politico that "if Republicans aren't prepared to vote for it, I don't think we should be giving up things, where I think the money can be spent more effectively."
"If they're not going to vote for it, let's go with a plan that we think is going to work."
The Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential candidate suggested tossing some of the tax provisions in the stimulus that the GOP requested. "Those aren't job creators immediately, and even in the longer term they're not necessarily. We've seen that policy for the last eight years," he said.
What was that thing Americans voted for in November? Oh yeah, change.