crossposted at Smooth Like Remy
The AP has an interesting article about how some Republican Governers are breaking with their GOP counterparts in Congress and are advocating for quick passage of President Obama's economic stimulus plan. Now because states have to balance their budgets year to year it would seem that these Governers supporting the money to states in the spending provisions of the stimulus bill would be a no brainer, yet its not as simple as that.
I have a few ideas about how to get these Republican Governers to get behind President Obama's stimulus bill so follow me over the fold to discuss.
NEW YORK – Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.
Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama's spending priorities.
The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state's share of the package.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state's congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan.
"As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, Gov. Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans," said Douglas' deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey.
Now the views represented by Governers Palin, Crist, and Douglas make perfect sense when you realize that without federal assistance many states will have to both cut jobs in the public sector like teachers, police officers, and firefighters and also probably raise taxes in one form or another which is of course verboten when it comes to Republican orthodoxy. So like I said this doesn't seem like all that big of a surprise. But then you see some idiotic and totally hypocritical quotes from some other Republican Governers like these...
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former member of the House, said he would accept the stimulus money but would have voted against the bill if he were still in Congress. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he wasn't sure whether he would accept the approximately $3 billion his state would be in line for.
"Yes, we need some help and we appreciate the help," Barbour said in an interview. "But I don't know about the details and the strings attached to tell you if I'll take all of it or not."
The most outspoken critic has been South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has warned for months of a steep spike in inflation and a severely weakened dollar if Obama's plan passed. His state is on track to receive $2.1 billion of the stimulus money; Sanford has not yet said whether he would accept it.
"It's incumbent on me as one of the nation's governors to speak out against what I believe is ultimately incredibly harmful to the economy, to taxpayers and to the worth of the U.S. dollar," Sanford said in an interview. "This plan is a huge mistake and is going to prolong and deepen this recession."
Just as a reminder Governer Sanford is the same jackass who waited to the very last minute to ask for a federal loan to extend unemployment benefits at a time when his state was one of the hardest hit by the recession and had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. He effectively was paying Russian Roulette with his consituents' livelyhood all to score political points and burnish his conservative creds. That he blinked in the end was almost a foregone conclusion. But how many times will the voters of South Carolina put up with the kind of stress he put them through by waiting till the last minute?
I would have to say that if I ever found myself in agreement with a moronic jackass like Governer Sanford I would definitely have to review my opinion. There was one more GOP goverener expressing his reluctance to accept the stimulus money as well.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is widely viewed as a potential presidential contender in 2012, said governors have little choice but to accept the relief being offered. "States have to balance their budgets," he said. "So if we're going to go down this path, we are entitled to ask for our share of the money."
But Pawlenty expressed reservations about the cost of the plan and its impact on the federal deficit, which has already grown to over $1 trillion.
"I'm quite concerned about the federal government spending money it doesn't have," Pawlenty said. "We're on an unsustainable path of deficit spending and borrowing."
I want to go back to Bobby "The Exorcist" Jindal for a moment. Did you notice that this hypocrite said he would accept the money if the bill goes through but if he was still in Congress he would have voted against the bill? I just have to know, does that make any kind of sense to anyone but him?
Now it has been pointed out elsewhere and I want to repeat it here, this notion that the Republicans keep putting forth that we need to be thinking about the debt we are leaving our children and grandchildren is missing one major truth. What about what doing nothing does to our children and grandchildren today? What about the children and grandchildren who are being thrown out of their homes everyday? What about the children and grandchildren who are missing meals everyday because Mom and Dad have lost their jobs? What about the children and grandchildren who go without doctors and dentists visits because their parents no longer have their employer based healthcare? Those children and grandchildren deserve our consideration also.
So I have what I think is a pretty good solution. I propose that every governer who opposes the economic stimulus bill on prinicple should come out in the next week and publically pledge to refuse any funds set aside for their state in the package. The flip side of that would be if any Goverener wanted to accept the funds in the economic stimulus package should have to sign a petition to be presented to Congress asking them to pass the bill in order to be eligible for those funds. Now this isn't extortion or pay to play before I see some Blago analogies. This is about standing up for your principles if you really have any. If Governers Jindal, Barbour, Sandford and Pawlenty really want to prove they are fiscal conservatives then they should have no problem at all refusing the funds. I mean hell according to the GOP, tax cuts cure all of an economy's ills anyway. Let them fix their state's budgets as they see fit and show the rest of us how it is done.
The reason why this would be a viable solution is because if you eliminate money set aside for populous states like Mississippi, Lousianna, and Texas you will remove a huge chunk of change in the stimulus bill. Thats money that can now be reallocated to other states or other infrastructure projects or that money can just be stripped from the bill which would lower the financial burden on future generations which seems to all of a sudden be the most important consideration of the Republicans in Congress.
But lets be for real here, the only thing my solution would do would be to shine a light on the hypocrisy of the Republican Party yet again. There isn't a single one of those wingnuts who would dare publically disavow the federal assistance in the stiumulus bill because it would be political suicide. But right now they have cover to say all kinds of reckless bullshit because they know they don't really have to vote for the bill so they can give classic Orwellian doublespeak like Jindal saying they wouldn't vote for the bill but they would "have to" accept it. Nah, you don't have to accept it at all. Stick to your conservative roots Jindal and even though you have totally screwed Louisianna's budget with your ill advised tax cuts, just say no to goverenment handouts and solve your state's problems all on your own.
So thats my solution for getting this economic stimulus bill passed quickly. Either you will get enough money stripped out of the bill from the states refusing the money to presumably make it palatable to enough conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans to get it passed, OR you will get unanimous support for the bill from even the craziest of Republican Governers which will put just enough pressure on the Senate to get the bill passed. Smells like a win win situation to me....What say you???
And just a little cherry on top I would like to provide you with video of the Villagers looking back on their arguments for and against Bill Clinton's economic vision in 1992/1993. Enjoy
Notice that even after having been proven thoroughly and unequivically wrong about his economic prognostications in the 90s the Prince of Darkness is still screaming "tax cuts" just like every other reality challenged wingnut. Hopefully people are waking up to the fraud that has been perpetrated for years on them by the Republican Party.
(h/t C n L)