If you’ve been following the politicking surrounding the $26 billion in emergency state aid, you might be wondering if Republicans are really thinking through their current strategy to its end game.
Basically, the vast majority of the money would save over 300,000 state and local jobs, 100,000 of which are local teaching jobs that would have been eliminated before the school year even started.
Republicans are calling this a “bailout” and say that Dems can’t help but spend more money. Only problem with that logic…this money is paid for by cuts in other programs and would reduce the deficit.
Also, Repubs claim that states need to tighten their belts.
They do know that the budget gap in these states total $85 billion, right?
But let’s take a step back.
Before Bush came into office, nearly every single state had record surpluses and their budgets were balanced. After The Great Recession, nearly every single state ran a deficit. So, again, we’re presented with a logic gap. You have to either believe that they all became incredibly fiscally irresponsible…
…that the market imploded, access to credit became very difficult, businesses slashed jobs as a result, pushing up unemployment, making consumers spend far less, resulting in businesses generating even less revenue, thus pushing up unemployment into double digits, which results in far less sales and income tax and subsequently the surpluses vanished.
For even more evidence that states are hurting, you might be surprised to find out that even tax-cutting, deficit hawk Governors like Mark Sanford are taking stimulus money when they had previously said they wouldn’t. South Carolina is $1 billion in the hole. You think Sanford was spending unwisely?
Listen, it’s easy to just say “tighten your belt” and accuse states of being reckless. But, by the way, states have tightened their belts and they’ll have to do more, as is evidenced by the $59 billion gap left after this money finds its way into their hands.
But when the rubber meets the road and the GOPers go back to their states for the fall elections, they’re going to have to explain to voters that they positioned teachers, cops and firefighters as the new welfare queens. To me, that’s a bad spot to be in.