Last night, I came across an interesting story in the Joplin Globe. The paper’s first-class reporter, Susan Redden covered Roy Blunt’s trip to Carterville back in March of 2008. Blunt was there celebrating—via a business in Carterville—the Republican-supported economic stimulus package, then recently passed and signed by President Bush.
Yes, I said, “the Republican-supported economic stimulus package.” There was such a creature, and it failed to do its job. Miserably.
But the interesting thing about the story was Roy Blunt’s flagrant intercourse with Rosy Scenario, that loose dame who goes both ways—depending on who’s living at the White House.
According to Ms. Redden, here is what our congressman, Roy The Optimist, had to say in the Spring of 2008, mere months before the largest financial meltdown since the Great Depression:
Blunt never spoke the word recession, instead citing “unemployment at historic lows” and an increase in housing starts in February.
“You won’t hear that on the 24-hour news,” he said. “All the fundamentals are strong, especially in Southwest Missouri. I’m concerned we’re going to talk ourselves into economic problems.”
Get that? All the fundamentals are strong! That line sounded so good that John McCain borrowed it for his presidential campaign, although with limited success.
And Blunt was “concerned” that we were going to “talk ourselves into economic problems.” At least you have to give Roy credit for creativity. While most conservative analysts eventually blamed the meltdown on government intervention,* he had the good sense to pre-emptively blame it on free speech.
But there’s more:
He said the stimulus legislation includes an accelerated depreciation schedule that will allow businesses that invest at least $800,000 into new equipment to write off $250,000 in taxes the first year.
“That change in the tax code will allow businesses to write off more of their investments in equipment and facilities,” Blunt said. “It should help small businesses expand and add jobs. We really should see a reaction in the next couple of months.”
These days you hear Republicans blaming the Obama administration for its misplaced confidence (yes, Obama has slept with Rosy Scenario, too) in the Democrats’ stimulus package, passed earlier this year. But given what happened after Blunt made his comments, I think it’s fair to say that he was Rosy’s biggest lover of all time. Okay. At least in the last few years.
Blunt, the 7th District congressman who is minority whip in the House, said the more aggressive depreciation schedule is among several changes in the tax code designed to stimulate the economy by encouraging production and job creation.
“It’s the best part of the stimulus package because it’s better than one-time spending,” he said, referring to federal rebate checks to be mailed later this year.
Just more evidence that supply-side economics is not the panacea that conservative Republicans claim. “Aggressive depreciation schedules” and other such remedies were useless in the face of the Tsunami that was yet to hit.
And in a declaration that would surely vex the saintly Dave Ramsey, Redden reported:
He acknowledged reports that many people say they plan to pay off debts with their rebate checks, which are designed to spur consumer spending.
“If they pay off debt that won’t be a bad thing, because some of them will turn around and incur more debt,” he said.
But finally, Blunt presciently endorsed now-President Obama’s energy policy:
Blunt agreed that gasoline-price hikes are affecting shipping and other areas of the economy, and he said the United States needs an energy policy that encourages energy production, including from alternative sources.
“And we’ve got to use our own resources, from biofuels to wind, to take the pressure off,” he said.
All of this sort of undermines Blunt’s efforts to undermine Obama and the Democrats, as Roy The Forgetful undertakes his campaign to become our senator.
Here are some attempts by the memory-challenged Blunt to criticize Democratic efforts to undo the damage Blunt and his party did to the economy:
The national jobless rate has surged to 9.8 percent, the highest since 1983, even though the liberals’ so called “stimulus” plan that I opposed was promised to deliver a “worst-case” unemployment rate of 8 percent this year…Now the Obama Administration is considering a “Stimulus Two.”
Robin Carnahan is satisfied with the way things are going in Washington. I’m not.
In passing the now-failed stimulus, one-party Washington promised that joblessness would level off at 8.5 percent this year. But it got worse. Washington has proven what Missouri common sense already knows and teaches. We cannot “borrow our way of debt.” People can’t. Governments can’t. It doesn’t work for the nation’s budget. It doesn’t work, because it can’t work.
Finally, like all conservative politicians, Roy Blunt has a tried-and-false solution for our economic woes:
…if we want more consumer spending and job creation, then let’s reduce people’s taxes.
The mantra of cutting taxes never grows old for some Republicans, mainly, I suppose, because it works on the bubbabots, who think their children’s reduced and free lunches, Social Security, Medicare, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, interstate highways, blah, blah, blah, are indeed “free.”
Not that Blunt doesn’t also propose to do something about our wild federal government:
While we do this, Washington must get control of government spending.
Wow! Blunt wants to “control” the feds! The following is an up-to-date list of federal agencies and programs Roy The Courageous is advocating that we cut, scale back, or “control”:
Stay tuned for updates to the preceding list.
* Ironically, the Republican-supported stimulus package of 2008 also contained the following, according to Fox “News”:
To address the mortgage crisis, the package raises the limit on Federal Housing Administration loans from $362,790 to as high as $729,750 in expensive areas, allowing more subprime mortgage holders to refinance into federally insured loans. To widen the availability of mortgages across the country, it also provides a one-year boost to the cap on loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy, from $417,000 up to $729,750 in high-cost markets.
Look for Roy The Duplicitous to blame Democrats for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac malfeasance at some point in the 2010 Senate campaign.
[Photo: Globe/Roger Normer]