Senator Tom Coburn has put out a new list of what he calls “Wasteful and Non-Stimulative Spending” in the recently-passed economic stimulus package.
If you do the math, you find that Coburn’s list amounts to just over $62 billion, or just 7.5% of the $838 billion stimulus package passed by the Senate. I have to admit, opposing a bill because you dislike 7.5% of it is better than opposing a bill because you dislike 2% of it, which was the previous GOP standard. I have to give Coburn some credit for finding more things to hate in the stimulus package.
But here’s my problem–nowhere does Coburn explain why these expenditures are wasteful and non-stimulative. It’s just a list of expenditures with no analysis or explanation whatsoever, I guess he subjected them to the patented Republican “I don’t like it and therefore it’s not stimulate” economic analysis, but some of this list is rediculous on it’s face.
Some of the programs Coburn opposes will, irrefutably, create jobs. For instance, he highlights $2 billion toward building a zero-emissions power plant, even though people will have to be hired to actually do the work of building that plant, thus creating jobs. The same goes for the $1 billion expenditure for building NOAA offices that Coburn opposes.
Similarly, Coburn criticizes putting $2 billion toward manufacturing hybrid car batteries, even though the expansion of that sector means more people will have to be hired to to keep up with the extra demand. Coburn also opposes a $1.2 billion expenditure for creating, as he puts it, “summer jobs for youth [sic]”. Come on, it says right there on your website that the $1.2 billion is specifically designed to create jobs for young workers; how is that not stimulative? How doesn’t that create jobs and grow our economy? What sense does this list make?
Look, that’s the same tactic the GOP has been using against the stimulus package all along: they cherry pick relatively-minor expenditures that sound funny to them and use those expenditures to bludgeon the bill as as “pork” and “wasteful”. Of course, at no point do any of them actually stop to figure out whether these programs would actually create jobs and help the economy, which you think would be kind of important to know.
That’s because, to the GOP, this isn’t about the economy–it’s about politics. They want to hurt the Democrats by crippling a Democratic economic recovery initiative. They’re dreaming up stupid-on-their-faces talking points and putting them out there, hoping all the while that nobody realizes that there’s no economics behind their complaints.
“I don’t like it, therefore it’s not stimulus” has become the gold standard of Republican economics. And they wonder why they keep losing elections…
UPDATE: And then there’s this:
In the late morning he [Obama] will visit a construction site in Springfield, Virginia with Governor Tim Kaine to highlight the jobs that will be created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and his commitment to making sure the American people know how their tax dollars will be spent.
And later in the afternoon, state transportation officials “from nearly every state,” will meet with Transportation Secretary LaHood and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to discuss their “infrastructure needs … as well as the projects that are ready to go,” in anticipation of the passage of the stimulus bill.
Vice President Biden will do his part, traveling to Pennsylvania, where he will tour a bridge slated for repair if Pennsylvania receives money under the economic stimulus bill. He will then travel to Harrisburg, where he will deliver remarks on the importance of investing in infrastructure “in order to build a 21st century economy.”
No matter what the GOP says, the economic stimulus package is designed to create jobs and will create jobs. Some of the programs might sound silly to some Republicans in Congress, but that doesn’t change the fact that they will grow our economy and put people back to work.