This would be infuriating if it weren’t so pathetic. I could go through this line by line, but let’s just take the top-line talking point, which John Boehner’s office has been peddling to willing journo-stenographers: that the stimulus package is going to cost $275,000 per new job created.
Well. First of all $300 billion of the $825B is going to tax relief, which is not at all job-creation related. Another $200 or so billion is going to the states, to enable them to maintain the services they currently provide, also not job-creation related. When you throw in the money going for food stamps, extended unemployment insurance and so forth, you’re down to a much smaller number per job created–you’ll excuse me if I haven’t done the math–much of which will be involved in projects that will save money in the long (retrofitting federal buildings will lead to lower energy costs, for example), make us less dependent on foreign oil, greener and stronger. For the best account of the possibilities and pitfalls of the stimulus plan that I’ve read, check out Michael Grunwald’s excellent piece in this week’s Time.
Are there crap projects that will be funded? Undoubtedly. Will the stimulus turn the economy around? Maybe not. (Paul Krugman and others argue it should be larger). But Jennifer Rubin’s drivel is an exemplar of the kind of phony-baloney propaganda that we’ve seen, sadly, from Republicans in recent years, since their “new” ideas either grew old or proved defective. These are not serious arguments; they are, in fact, insulting. They assume a witless populace.
I’d hope that we’d have an intellectually responsible Loyal Opposition that will help hone the fat out of the Obama Administration’s proposals; John Boehner’s name has never been associated with the words “intellectual” or “responsible.” I suspect the G.O.P. will remain in the wilderness for as long as it thinks it can hoodwink the public with such slovenly thinking.