On the War Supplemental

IMF Headquarters (Wikimedia)

IMF Headquarters (Wikimedia)

We can all recall the days when voting against an emergency war supplemental bill was the most evil and un-American thing ever:

For years, Republicans portrayed the bills funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as matters of national security and accused Democrats who voted against them of voting against the troops. […] But Republicans say this year is different. Democrats have included a $5 billion increase for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help aid nations affected by the global financial crisis. Republicans say that is reason enough to vote against the entire $106 billion spending bill and are certain voters will understand.

Beyond the pure hypocrisy play, it’s worth observing that this is a really bad reason to vote against the bill. Nina Hachigian did a brief piece for CAP about this but suffice it to say that the world economy continues to be in a very perilous situation. It now looks like things might start getting better. But it’s possible that some “other shoe” or two may drop—most likely the meltdown of an Eastern European country—and the IMF exists to stop that kind of thing from happening.

As with TARP, the net fiscal cost is likely to be dramatically lower than the headline appropriation (because money gets repaid) and the macroeconomic impact of collapses is much more severe than the cost of ponying up the money.