Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Charlie and the Stimulus Bucks

Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) is getting in trouble with his own party for gladly accepting the inflow of cash from the stimulus package.

”We’re grateful for it,” Crist said Monday in Washington after joining other governors at a White House meeting with President Barack Obama. ”We want to spend those dollars wisely.”

But back home, some Republicans doubt the stimulus package will work. State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, said the state might feel a temporary boost, but it is risky to prop up the budget with one-time money that will soon run dry.

”These Obama bucks might be worse than Monopoly money because Monopoly money is real, and the Obama bucks cost you in the end,” Bennett said.

Actually, the only cost Mr. Bennett is really worried about is how much it will cost the Republicans in political capital for going against a program that will pump new jobs into the economy. Trust me, if a Republican president had somehow come up with this plan, Mr. Bennett would be on it like nobody’s business.

He does have a point, though; at some point there will be no more stimulus money. But that is how it’s supposed to work: this money gets the economy back on track (hence the word “stimulus,” as in “stimulate”); then it’s up to the states and localities to come up with plans to keep it going.

The irony is blazingly apparent; the Republicans are all for local government control until it comes time to actually do the heavy lifting. Let’s see what plans Mr. Bennett and the rest of the geniuses in Tallahassee can come up with to do their part to fix the economy that they help screw up in the first place.

By the way, five bucks says that Charlie Crist gets a primary challenge for re-election next year from some right-winger who claims that the governor isn’t a “real” Republican because he had the nerve to welcome President Obama to Fort Myers and support the idea of putting people to work.