ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nowhere Near a '21st Century New Deal'

A truly "21st century New Deal" can come about only with a radical shift in US politics.

The US economy is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and a relatively liberal president has taken office, but this has not been enough to bring forth what progressives have been calling for – what has been labelled as a “21st century New Deal”. President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, brought to Congress soon after he took office, does not qualif y for that designation.

The House of Representatives has passed the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”, as the $800 billion plus economic stimulus package is known, with 11 amendments, by a 244-188 vote, with all but 11 Democrats voting for the bill, and all the 177 Republicans rejecting it. This itself suggests that the version of the stimulus scheme introduced in the Senate, where the Democrats are not as well-placed as in the House, will have to undergo amendments that extend the tax cuts further to those less likely to immediately spend the money (that those cuts would add to their bank accounts) and downsize parts of the spending package that do not serve business interests. (As we write this, the bill is on the floor of the Senate, and one will have to wait to know what transpires there to make any further comments.)

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