Monday, February 9, 2009

Ensign to States: Drop Dead


Following up on previous posts detailing the GOP’s bizarre view of history and economics, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) tried to make the case on Meet the Press yesterday that instead of giving more money to the states through the stimulus package, the states should be cutting back.

To get back to what Congressman Frank said, is that we’re going to be laying off teachers and firefighters. You know, that’s just fearmongering. We’re not going to be doing that in any of the states. … [The states’] budgets are bloated, the federal government’s budget is bloated. What we should be doing is cutting back.

In a sense, he’s right: the states, including Florida, are cutting back — because they have no money to spend because the tax revenues have fallen because they get their money from property taxes and the real estate market is in the crapper. Most states don’t have the option of deficit spending, and recently the Republican governors met to urge the Congress to pass the stimulus bill so they could pay for things like teachers and firefighters. That’s not fearmongering, that’s reality.

Mr. Ensign seems determined to prove the point that William Kristol made in 1993, and as Boatboy so graciously quoted me as translating: “We Republicans can’t let the Democrats pass this [insert Democratic agenda item here], because if we do, we’ll make the Democrats look good.”

Update: Just to show Sen. Ensign how much the states aren’t bloated, the White House has announced that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) will attend the event in Fort Myers where President Obama will deliver a speech urging the passage of the stimulus bill. Not only will Mr. Crist attend; he’ll introduce the president. “I am eager to welcome President Obama to the Sunshine State as he continues to work hard to reignite the US economy.”

This is what happens when you put your state ahead of your politics. Well, not to mention that fact that Florida’s economy sucks right now and Gov. Crist doesn’t really care who’s nose gets out of joint as long as we get some help.