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Tilting at Windmills

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July 21, 2009

MAYBE THE STIMULUS ISN'T SO BAD AFTER ALL?.... I've lost track of all the labels Republican lawmakers have used to described the administration's stimulus package, but perhaps the most common is "failure." To hear the right tell, the recovery initiative just hasn't done much of anything, and it certainly hasn't created any jobs.

It's an argument that might be more persuasive if it were true. Greg Sargent, for example, flags this item from House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence's home state of Indiana.

More than 2,400 people are now at work on federal stimulus-funded roadway projects in Indiana, according to a state report being released today.

Covering 83 projects and listing a total payroll of $2.8 million, the Indiana Department of Transportation report details only a small fraction of the hundreds of projects so far selected for funding using the $440 million the agency received under the American Relief and Recovery Act.

Economists say it's too early to tell whether the long-term value of President Barack Obama's economy-boosting effort will justify its $787 billion cost. But construction executives say stimulus-funded projects certainly have created jobs and spared layoffs within the industry.

Remember, as far as Pence is concerned, those jobs shouldn't exist. (He argued earlier this year that government spending couldn't possibly create jobs, suggesting these jobs in Indiana must come as quite a surprise.) In fact, they wouldn't exist for quite a long while if Pence had his way, since he inexplicably insisted the best way to deal with the economic crisis is with a five-year spending freeze.

What will be especially interesting to see, though, is how many opponents of the stimulus package suddenly discover how much they like the projects the recovery funds financed. Louisiana Gov. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), for example, was an ardent critic of the stimulus effort, who now feels comfortable bragging to local Louisiana communities about money made possible by the recovery bill he opposed.

Indeed, this happens quite a bit. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hates the stimulus, except for the transportation money it brought to his district. Other House Republicans have bragged about recovery funds headed for their communities, thanks to a bill they voted in lock-step against.

So, how long until Pence starts claiming credit for some of the thousands of jobs brought to Indiana through this "failed" legislation?

Steve Benen 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Comments

So where is the reporting in the main stream on this? You know, side-by-side footage of these creeps spewing their rhetoric, followed by your facts? It's probably in the same reporting place Darth Cheney was hiding in all those long and productive albeit torturous economic years. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on July 21, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

i've always said, if a senator or rep voted against the stimulus package, their states shouldn't get a nickel. fair is fair, right?

Posted by: just bill on July 21, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Tracking the money -- http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/investments-state

Posted by: Rolla on July 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

You are the stupidest blogger on the planet Steve. The "stimulus" could simultaneously both be a total failure and create a measly 2400 jobs in Indiana. Your post in general belies a total misunderstanding of what "create a job" actually means. Yes, the government could "create" enough jobs to employ everyone in America as ditch diggers and trash collectors by borrowing trillions more dollars, but this isn't really indicative of economic productivity. Neither is 2400 temporary make-work jobs in Indiana.

Posted by: Brad on July 21, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, brad. and the ccc didn't work either. go away.

Posted by: just bill on July 21, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Must be my day for clarifying English terms; first the line in the sand, now "brad" :) Brad is a nail, right? A small one, with almost no head?

Posted by: exlibra on July 21, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Construction jobs could pay from $30,000 to $60,000 a year. That is mortgages paid, tuition paid for and trucks bought. The trickle down is concrete purchased, steel bought and food and beverages bought. And Indiana gets roads and what not that should last for years. Like any other freeway or road or interstate, make work jobs? Brad, you are an ass.

Posted by: Tigershark on July 21, 2009 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

it's a waste of time to jump on clowns like brad, but i do think the least he might remember is that the money-spending part of the stimulus is just beginning, as distinct from the tax cut component, which, of course, did jackshit in terms of jobs created, as did the 2003 bush tax cut and the 1981 reagan tax cut.

Posted by: howard on July 21, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK
Steve: "So, how long until Pence starts claiming credit for some of the thousands of jobs brought to Indiana through this 'failed' legislation?"

My guess is probably not too long. When one doesn't embarrass easily, one can say and do practically anything one pleases, until someone has the cojones to insist otherwise.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 21, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK
just bill: "i've always said, if a senator or rep voted against the stimulus package, their states shouldn't get a nickel. fair is fair, right?"

Well, if that's the case, then why don't we just strip away 80% of all federal funding from the State of Texas? I could easily reconcile that with my own privileged white inner child's emotionally-stunted conscience, no problem.

I'd really like to think that we're bigger and better than that. At the very least, Democrats could campaign in those districts and states justifiably claiming that things are getting better, despite the efforts of their own congressional representation.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 21, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Butbutbut...Obama's had six whole months to stem the job-losses resulting from eight (8) Bush years of economic mismanagement, uh laissez faire.

Posted by: Monty on July 21, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

INDIANAPOLIS-More than 2,400 people are now at work on federal stimulus-funded roadway projects in Indiana, according to a state report being released today.
Covering 83 projects and listing a total payroll of $2.8 million, the Indiana Department of Transportation report details only a small fraction of the hundreds of projects so far selected for funding using the $440 million the agency received under the American Relief and Recovery Act.
{...}
It's tough to tell exactly how many new jobs are being created or old jobs are being saved by stimulus projects that range from repaving roads to laying new ones.
{...}
Bjorkman said the company has a core group of workers that are among the first called to begin projects each year. The stimulus, he said, has allowed the company to rehire those core workers.
============================================================

Always, always, always just read Steve's post only. Never, never, never read the linked story because it will only confuse you.

A $2.8M payroll for 2400 asphalt-rakers is not, you know (for you liberal arts kidz), alot of bread. The BigStim also seems to only fire up the guys who made up the core last year.

So sorry, no new or very few, short money Hoosier Hires.

Posted by: tao9 on July 21, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

"asphalt-rakers" Not a big fan of blue collar workers?

Posted by: Tigershark on July 21, 2009 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

At the very least, Democrats could campaign in those districts and states justifiably claiming that things are getting better, despite the efforts of their own congressional representation. -- Donald from Hawaii, @17:41

Yup. Here, in VA, where the *legislature* (unlike in other states, where the *governor*) turned down the stimulus money and where we always have a campaign going on (because our state elections are in off years), the Dems are running on just that plank (among others). We'll see how receptive the populace will be.

A $2.8M payroll for 2400 asphalt-rakers is not, you know (for you liberal arts kidz), alot of bread. The BigStim also seems to only fire up the guys who made up the core last year. -- tao9, @ 18:08

And you think it'd have been cheaper/better if all those people had gone on welfare instead of *earning* their money? Because, in many states, that's exactly what the alternative was, had the stimulus money not come -- layoffs by the hundreds, if not thousands.

Posted by: exlibra on July 21, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

A bigger bang for the buck?

A bright spot in a down economy. Earlier today, on CNBC ( the cable show that deals -mostly- in actual numbers, hence the spin does not so readily induce vertigo) several guests talked about how the stimulous $$ were affecting their states.

A curious fact. Bids on the construction-highway- jobs were coming in UNDER estimate, as much as 20% below expectations.

It seems that any work is better than none. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 21, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm certain that the stimulus has created net jobs; and, indeed, I'm certain that it wasn't large enough. So I'm quite on the same side of things as Steve.

However, this is really inexcusable:

"He argued earlier this year that government spending couldn't possibly create jobs, suggesting these jobs in Indiana must come as quite a surprise."

I know many Republicans and GOP Congressman are dumb as rocks, but Pence was certainly not arguing that government spending couldn't possible create a job. There are people with government jobs. QED. No, obviously, Pence was arguing that government spending couldn't create a net increase in jobs because a government funded job necessarily means the loss of one or more private sector jobs. Now, I don't agree with this...but that's beside the point.

What is the point is that Steve Benen certainly understands Pence's argument and he's misrepresenting it.

I see this sort of thing by Steve all the time here and I suppose it's no surprise that I also see from Steve a large number of posts attacking conservatives for exactly the same sort of misrepresentation and bad-faith argument.

Steve mentioned how much he admired Hilzoy. Too bad he didn't learn from her how to control one's partisan urges and avoid this sort of hypocrisy.

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on July 21, 2009 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

wow, steve. maybe you'd better go back to your old gig.....at least we knew what was going on.....

Posted by: just bill on July 21, 2009 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on July 21, 2009 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Just bill you are an idiot but let me help you with the true facts. The WPA projects at first had some affect, but that quickly ended as the US hit another large recession from 36 to practically 42. Although it may have given folks a temporary boost, the plan was ultimately a failure due to the fact the Government is a horrible allocater of assests. Also, this guy your FDR imposed social security and medicare on us which will soon bankrupt us if Obama does not do it to us first. FDR and his dunherheads never anticipated the following: Medicine would increase our life expectancy, and a bunch of guys fighting in WW2 might want some female company after the war. The only thing that saved us from another depression was the fact is the British, French, and Russians needed our manufacturing of war material. THe alphabet jobs were of no long term affect, neither will the stupid temporary jobs in Indiana. Don't you know the owners doing the work will suppress hiring to profit off of Obama's disaster. I think it is time for the states to start suceding from the union. Texas has talked about it, it is time the Federal Government be what the founding fathers meant this country to be. I say split up the country, those that want cradle to the grave and those who want their people to succeed without government.

Posted by: Dan on July 21, 2009 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Better trolls please?

Dan: FDR did not impose Social Security. It passed through Congress. House and Senate. Did you not see "How a bill becomes a Law"?

Medicare is an LBJ program.

Please go back to school.

Posted by: Tigershark on July 21, 2009 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Some clown is using my moniker. I've been using "just bill" to post to sites for years. Get your own name.

And Steve, 2400 jobs deducted from 7,000,000 lost is not a gain. Obama's projections have been and continue to be pipe dreams.

Posted by: the real just bill on July 21, 2009 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Tigershark, @22:30,

Anyone not knowing the difference between "affect" and "effect"? Save yourself effort disputing; not worth wasting energy on...

Posted by: exlibra on July 21, 2009 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

"And Steve, 2400 jobs deducted from 7,000,000 lost is not a gain. Obama's projections have been and continue to be pipe dreams."

And now you are the one who is misrepresenting your opponent's argument. Just as Pence was not arguing that it was impossible for the government to create a job in any sense but specifically that it couldn't create a job that wouldn't have existed in the private sector otherwise, Benen was not claiming that the stimulus has created more jobs than existed before the recession began but specifically that it has created jobs that otherwise would not exist.

And just as Benen knew what Pence meant, you know what Benen meant.

I hate this crap. People, grow up.

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on July 21, 2009 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

MAYBE THE STIMULUS ISN'T SO BAD AFTER ALL?.... I've lost track of all the labels Republican lawmakers have used to described the administration's stimulus package, but perhaps the most common is "failure." To hear the right tell, the recovery initiative just hasn't done much of anything, and it certainly hasn't created any jobs.

It's an argument that might be more persuasive if it were true. Greg Sargent, for example, flags this item from House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence's home state of Indiana.

More than 2,400 people are now at work on federal stimulus-funded roadway projects in Indiana, according to a state report being released today.

Covering 83 projects and listing a total payroll of $2.8 million, the Indiana Department of Transportation report details only a small fraction of the hundreds of projects so far selected for funding using the $440 million the agency received under the American Relief and Recovery Act.

Economists say it's too early to tell whether the long-term value of President Barack Obama's economy-boosting effort will justify its $787 billion cost. But construction executives say stimulus-funded projects certainly have created jobs and spared layoffs within the industry.

Remember, as far as Pence is concerned, those jobs shouldn't exist. (He argued earlier this year that government spending couldn't possibly create jobs, suggesting these jobs in Indiana must come as quite a surprise.) In fact, they wouldn't exist for quite a long while if Pence had his way, since he inexplicably insisted the best way to deal with the economic crisis is with a five-year spending freeze.

What will be especially interesting to see, though, is how many opponents of the stimulus package suddenly discover how much they like the projects the recovery funds financed. Louisiana Gov. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), for example, was an ardent critic of the stimulus effort, who now feels comfortable bragging to local Louisiana communities about money made possible by the recovery bill he opposed.

Indeed, this happens quite a bit. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hates the stimulus, except for the transportation money it brought to his district. Other House Republicans have bragged about recovery funds headed for their communities, thanks to a bill they voted in lock-step against.

So, how long until Pence starts claiming credit for some of the thousands of jobs brought to Indiana through this "failed" legislation?

Posted by: Daniel T. on July 21, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

2,800,000 for 2400 people is total payroll of less than $1,200 per employee. That is not creating jobs, that is keeping people employed an extra 2-3 weeks, tops.

Also, that money came from somewhere and it would have created jobs elsewhere or ese it is killing jobs in the future when it has to be repaid by not spending moeny then.

Every penny the government spends comes from taxpayers. The people the government takes it from will spend it more efficiently and will reate more jobs than the government will. Period.

Posted by: gary on July 22, 2009 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

467,000 jobs lost in June, and you're trumpeting the creation of 2,400 jobs that will be terminated in 2011? And this for $787 billion? Better to have cut a check for $5,000 to every US taxpayer.

Posted by: John Higgins on July 22, 2009 at 4:54 AM | PERMALINK

Has the anti-stimulus crowd noticed the concensus economists' forecast that the recession ended in June, and that we should have about 2% growth at year's end? That GDP growth would turn positive sooner than previously expected is testament to the shock-absorbing power of the stimulus.

Posted by: bob h on July 22, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Regardless the bickering, the volume of photos and videos by Republicans speaking from both sides of their pasty smiles will make for some enjoyable ads come the midterms and 2012. I look forward to Jindal and his Big Check when he decides to run against Vitter.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on July 22, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

A hidden story popped up in The Times last week concerning New England and Northeast governor's uses of the stimulus. Rather than making the flak Sanford threw up, they simply diverted education money to other purposes, particularly that nasty debt problem.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on July 22, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

So where is the reporting in the main stream on this? You know, side-by-side footage of these creeps spewing their rhetoric, followed by your facts?

The Daily Show.

Oh, you meant the so-called "liberal news media"? Fat chance.

Posted by: Gregory on July 22, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Love the tone on the comment thread. So civil...

"opponents of the stimulus package suddenly discover how much they like the projects"

Isn't that making lemonade from lemons? What pol ever failed to take credit for spending in their spot?

"the money-spending part of the stimulus is just beginning"

Isn't that a fair criticism of the whole affair? As Summers said, effective stimulus is targeted, timely, and temporary. This one is none of those.

@bob h - "Has the anti-stimulus crowd noticed the concensus economists' forecast that the recession ended in June, and that we should have about 2% growth at year's end?

You're shooting your argument in the head. How can the stimulus have saved the day if such a small fraction of it has been spent? It must not have been necessary in the first place. And of course, if growth is returning, why do we need all the rest of the stimulus?

Posted by: Larry on July 22, 2009 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

The beauty of these blogging engines and CMS platforms is the lack of limitations and ease of manipulation that allows developers to implement rich content and 'skin' the site in such a way that with very little effort one would never notice what it is making the site tick all without limiting content and effectiveness. International and National Update News

Posted by: international news on April 1, 2011 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Aw, this was a really great post. In theory I'd like to write like this also - taking time and real effort to make a good article... but what can I say... I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

Posted by: international news on April 1, 2011 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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