Here is a quote from Tim Pawlenty’s Esquire interview:
ESQUIRE: Was spending going too far and government growing too big before Obama became president?
Tim Pawlenty: It certainly was, but he has pushed the gas pedal to the metal and exploded it in ways that were previously unheard-of. I mean, he’s taken the national deficit in one year and tripled it. So we now have a $1.4 trillion deficit just in the past year.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Let’s revisit that comment from the random commenter at Reason-:
Obama could have avoided all of this by governing more like Clinton. He could have permanently painted the Republicans as the party of fiscal irresponsibility after record half-trillion-dollar deficits under Bush. Instead he tripled them.
They make shit up, their supporters and the am radio crews and the hacks from the Koch funded “think tanks” repeat it over and over again, an uncritical media then reifies it, and before you know it, it is the new conventional wisdom. It is what it is.
Back to Pawlenty’s interview, because this was particularly laughable:
For example, instead of spending $800 billion in a stimulus package, I think we would have gotten much more bang for the buck if we would have done two simple things: focused on tax cuts that would have put cash immediately into the average citizen’s pocket, and two, put money into bread-and-butter infrastructure projects like roads and bridges that could be done quickly. Of the $800 billion stimulus package, only about $50 billion, give or take, actually went into roads and bridges. It was a paltry amount compared to the overall size of the bill.
This is funny for so many reasons. First, a good bit of the stimulus was tax cuts – 275 billion, to be exact. Second, when you have massive unemployment, as we do, tax cuts don’t benefit unemployed people (if there has been anything positive out of the last year, we know definitively that tax cuts are worthless as stimulus– not that will stop blue dogs and Republicans from proposing them as a cure-all for everything that ails you). Third, a large chunk of the bill was, as stated before, to provide relief to states.
And here is where it gets really good. Pawlenty on infrastructure projects. First off, I agree with him. In fact, I would love to have a bill pass the house and Senate right now for half a trillion dollars that is spent on nothing but infrastructure- rail, roads, bridges, sanitation and waste management, improving the power grid- all the things the American Society of Civil Engineers say we need to fix.
But what Pawlenty does not note is that it can’t happen because the Republicans and the blue dogs they have so terrified will never let it happen. They screamed that the existing infrastructure portion of the stimulus bill was just pork:
Republicans cry foul over $8 billion for high-speed rail
Alleging the money is for an Anaheim-Las Vegas rail project, they accuse Sen. Harry Reid of putting an earmark in the stimulus package.
They also screamed that it was just pork because it was not stimulus unless it happened immediately, and I blame Obama and company for the assist on that, making everything be “shovel-ready.” Finally, the best part of Pawlenty’s claim about support for infrastructure is the following question- If it is such a good thing for the country as a whole, why was is infrastructure spending not good enough for his own state:
In the past two years, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota twice vetoed legislation to raise the state’s gas tax to pay for transportation needs.
Now, with at least five people dead in the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge here, Mr. Pawlenty, a Republican, appears to have had a change of heart.
“He’s open to that,” Brian McClung, a spokesman for the governor, said Monday of a higher gas tax. “He believes we need to do everything we can to address this situation and the extraordinary costs.”
Maybe Pawlenty found religion when it comes to the value of infrastructure spending. Or maybe he is just full of shit. I know which option I am choosing.
And if Pawlenty is serious about running for the GOP nomination, he better stop talking about spending hundreds of billions on things other than tax cuts for the rich and bombing muslim countries, or he will get teabagged before you can say fiscal conservative.