Georgia benefits from stimulus, and GOP knows it

WASHINGTON —  Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell isn’t shy about proclaiming the benefits of the stimulus bill passed a year ago. Of course, Rendell is a Democrat, and you would expect him to praise the legislation, which has been roundly denounced by Republicans as a budget-busting, porkbarrel-laden, government-expanding exercise in futility.

But California’s GOP governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has also praised the bill, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“I have been the first of the Republican governors to come out and to support the stimulus money. I say to myself, this is terrific, and anyone that says that it hasn’t created jobs, they should talk to the 150,000 people who have been getting jobs in California,” he said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Give Schwarzenegger credit for his candor. Many Republicans have bashed the bill publicly while rushing to get part of the money for their states — or to take credit for the local programs that it helps to fund.

Not a single Republican in the House of Representatives voted for the stimulus plan. Yet, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) has sent out a press release calling attention to federal funds that went to his coastal district. He failed to mention that those funds, which included money to pay police officers’ salaries and to make improvements at several small airports, were available because of the stimulus legislation that he opposed.

U.S. Rep. John Linder (R-Duluth) claimed the stimulus bill “has done nothing for job growth in this country.” But he sent a letter to Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack supporting a request for stimulus funds from a Georgia community foundation. According to the Washington Times, the letter said, in part, “the employment opportunities created by this program will be quickly utilized.”

However, for unadulterated hypocrisy, no other Georgia Republican matches U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), who showed up at a ribbon-cutting for a Cedartown streetscape project funded from the stimulus build. In a widely circulated photo, Gingrey is shown grinning and holding one of those oversized fake checks celebrating the $625,000 government grant.

Gingrey poses with stimulus check      (courtesy thepolkfishwrap.com)

Gingrey poses with stimulus check (courtesy thepolkfishwrap.com)

President Obama may have had Gingrey, among others, in mind when he chastised Congressional Republicans last month for their stimulus-bashing. “A lot of you have gone to appear at ribbon cuttings for the same projects that you voted against,” he said.

But Obama and his Democratic colleagues share the blame for the widespread unpopularity of the recovery act, which most Americans have come to believe was a waste of taxpayer dollars. The Democrats failed to craft an easily-understood message that would explain what the legislation would accomplish. That left an opportunity for the GOP’s relentless message machine, which isn’t above distortion and dissembling, as Rendell pointed out on “This Week.”

“The stimulus has done a great job for America, but we lost the spin war. And once you lose it, it’s hard to get it back,” he said.

You’d have thought that the GOP would have praised the legislation for including $282 billion in tax cuts (the largest single-year tax cut ever). But last month, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, dismissed the cuts, which benefited 95 percent of Americans, as “boutique tax cuts.” That’s a new use of the word “boutique” — which usually means “customized” or “exclusive.”

The unemployment benefits in the recovery act provided a critical safety net in Georgia, according to Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “Without that, we’d have 200,000-plus people with no means of support,” he said.

He also noted that the Georgia General Assembly had used federal funds from the stimulus bill to fill a “$2.3 billion hole in the state budget. But for the stimulus, we’d have seen more draconian cuts in education, health care and more furloughs and possibly lay-offs,” Thurmond said.

According to a report compiled by a state agency, the recovery act accounted for more than 24,000 jobs in the state during the last quarter of 2009, including teachers, police officers and transportation workers. Is that wasteful pork barrel spending? Not if you benefit from those jobs.

137 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

February 24th, 2010
8:10 am

“for including $282 billion in tax cuts”

Where’s the outrage, Cynthia? You never said ONE good thing about Bush’s tax cuts. Yet you praise Obama’s. YOU, Cynthia Tucker, are the hypocrite.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 24th, 2010
8:22 am

I respectfully dissent from the thrust of the essay. The long term damage arising from the insane spending will dwarf the de minimis short term stimulus. Rational economic policy diminishes the rate of growth of the unproductive economy, and allows the productive economy to thrive; the Congress has pursued the opposite since January 2007 – note the parallel to the economic decline, cause and effect – reaching bottom with Chauncey’s stimulus – note the parallel to the economic decline, cause and effect.

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
8:22 am

Peadawg

Bush Tax cuts total dollar value approximately 1.8 triilion dollars.
(see Politifact.com)

Obama Tax cuts 282 billion.

I think the outrage is appropriately directed.

Peadawg

February 24th, 2010
8:25 am

“I think the outrage is appropriately directed.”

Ya, you would Granny…. They both added to the deficit yet b/c it’s Obama, he gets a pass. Some “change”, huh?

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
8:27 am

Peadawg

No, not at all. It’s a matter of scale.

Peadawg

February 24th, 2010
8:30 am

Oooooh, ok Granny. ;)

So, like I asked, you’re not mad at Obama giving tax cuts which add to the deficit? Simple yes or no answer will do.

Who gonna pay??

February 24th, 2010
8:34 am

Who is going to pay for this? Oh yea, rich white guys! Stick it to da man!!

Jim

February 24th, 2010
8:35 am

Cynthia – Over the last 20+ years, year in and year out, Georgia has contributed more to the Federal Government in tax payments than it has received back from the federal government. Why not reduce the size of the federal government and let us keep our money from the very beginning? What a novel idea!

AJC: Truth Detector

February 24th, 2010
8:39 am

THROW ALL THE BUMs out……DEMOCRATs…..& Republicans….alike

jimmy62

February 24th, 2010
8:39 am

Instead of having a billion dollars in potential private sector funding to grow companies and hire people, the government took that money from private hands, laundered it, and gave a much smaller amount back, and called it stimulus.

That’s inane! If that stimulus money helped, then think how much more help there could have been if that money hadn’t been taken from the private sector in the first place. I don’t understand why people are so excited for the government to give away money, when it would be cheaper and quicker if they just didn’t take the money in the first place.

What sense does it make for them to take money from me, take 30% of it, and then give it back to me as “assistance?” It makes no sense for individuals, and even less for businesses.

RGB

February 24th, 2010
8:39 am

The stimulus provides a small, temporary fix at the expense of pulling capital from the jobs-creating private sector. Mississippi reported each job created there cost $700,000. Is that a good “investment” of tax payer dollars? The answer is “no”.

Also, is the Governator qualified to speak to economic issues given the mess he and that state’s legislature got California in? The answer is “no”.

Separately, the WSJ yesterday reported the stimulus will have a net negative economic impact because it takes much needed capital from private businesses.

Of course they used economic rationale, formulas, etc. rather than emotions to make their assessment.

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
8:43 am

Peadawg

Simply no I’m not mad at Obama for using a small tax cut as part
of his effective stimulus package.

Jim

Actually, in a study (2007) by the The Tax Foundation, Georgia gets $1.01 in federal money for every $1.00 it pays in taxes.

Robert

February 24th, 2010
8:43 am

I assume all those in glass houses throwing the stones of hypocrisy have refunded their Bush tax cuts. There is absolutely a way to donate money back to the Treasury and please don’t go public with other’s so called hypocrisy until you do so. If your check has been sent or in the mail, by all means “fire away”.

Strait Road

February 24th, 2010
8:47 am

ctucker,

I’m eagerly awaiting your article about democrats who bash big business while consuming the products big business produce. Or how about an article about the dem environuts who preach to us peons about conservation while they fly around the country on private jets? I do agree with you on the hipocracy issue where the borrowed “stimulus” is involved but how about a little balance?

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
8:54 am

RGB

” Mississippi reported each job created there cost $700,000.”

I’m willing to bet that if you look closer at that amount awarded to MS Dept of Transportation includes not only the 500 jobs, but also the materials and equipment for road projects. We have seen this kind of silly math before.

As far as the WSJ piece…are we talking the Barro piece that still uses
wartime spending as a model for the effects of peacetime civilian stimulus spending? I’m with Krugman on that…piffle.

Robert

February 24th, 2010
8:55 am

Granny- the most interesting studies are those who preach tax and spend and amazingly are personally less charitable. The current President is a (very) high net worth individual who has a very small pattern of personal giving- shockingly similar to Gore. Yet, we should listen? Yet, we cry hyprocrisy? Still looking for a role model leader- not someone who is very good at spending other peoples monies.

Obama support

February 24th, 2010
8:55 am

CPAC on CSPAN

The pee-tardies in the tea party are truly rebels without a cause. They likened their CPAC convention to Woodstock. Very appropriate, because their enemies list read like it was compiled by Sherlock Holmes on the bogue brown acid: Lesbian Neo-Monarchists, Watson. (true).

The tea party is nothing more than an unruly mob with money to spin. They’re angry, but they haven’t a clue how to direct that anger, except to partake in some obscene slow-motion replay of the Ox Box Incident and give Obama the Shaft. Our president must be some sort of super-fly cat. He’s been hanged in effigy more than nine times, (more than 99 times), simply because he’s looking out for his brother, man. Our president must be one bad mother (shut your mouth).

If the Bush recession is keeping you jobless, there is a dire need for professionals in the growing industry of anger management.

EJ

February 24th, 2010
8:58 am

Talking about the benefits without specifically identifying the costs is a one -sided exercise in idiocy.

Who will be there to write the rest of the story when the bills come due from all of the these “benefits”?

Will Ms. Tucker be there to link the two stories together?

Dee keith

February 24th, 2010
8:59 am

It’s amazing how much of a mainstay ignorance seems to be in the South. Their is a huge difference between bush’s massive trickle down tax cuts that created not one net job for the 8 years Bush was in office, and the miniscule tax cut in the stimulus package meant to stimulate the economy, and prevent unemployment from skyrocketing through the roof. A true conservative in this day and age is someone who pulls money out of thin air as a opposed to relying on others to make it.

Peadawg

February 24th, 2010
8:59 am

“Simply no”

Figured….you gave Obama a pass since he’s Obama. The rest of your sentence didn’t matter.

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
9:05 am

Robert

Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay wrote a lot of checks for charity.
It really is more about character.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 24th, 2010
9:05 am

To steal a Taranto funny: “unadulterated hypocrisy” – democrat votes against lower taxes, then pays taxes only at lower rates.

Robert

February 24th, 2010
9:06 am

Dee Keith- Always good to start a blog with blazingly generalities about a group of people. I frequently like to enter a room and say “all blacks are…” “all Yankees are…” Did I miss you at the last mensa meeting? By the way, the Bush downfall was expensive “wars”. You may want to do your on long term economic research.

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
9:06 am

Peadawg

Nope. No passes from the Granny. No telepathy for the Peadawg.

Peadawg

February 24th, 2010
9:08 am

“Nope. No passes from the Granny”

A tax cut is a tax cut no matter how you Democrats like to sugar-coat things. You were made at Bush, but not at Obama. That would be a pass b/c he’s Obama and a Democrat. Nice try.

Road Scholar

February 24th, 2010
9:09 am

With all the emphasis on job creation, the number of jobs that were maintained, or not lost, should also be considered. Or should we have waited until state and local jobs were lost due to the economy before we “hired them anew”? W/o the stimulus, job losses would have increased, with many of them Policemen, firefighters, etc. That would have raised the unemployment rate even higher.

As for those who complain that President Obama said that the unemployment rate would top out at 9%, when it rose to nearly 11 %, the rate President Obama sttated was based on projections…estimated based on ever changing factors. For all of you that disagree, try remodeling your house…and see if the estimate for the work never changes!

Richard Bagge

February 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Obama Support @8.55 am: the line was actually “liberal neomonarchists.” It makes absolutely no sense, either, but just for accuracy’s sake…

I love conservatives. That CPAC party was the greatest thing ever. Having finally concluded that sensible Americans see right through the “socialist” claim, conservatives have now decided to deride left-wingers as “neo-monarchists.” Bliss. Come 2011, they’ll be calling us “alien space monsters.”

Ghost of strom

February 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Boy did I take a womping for voting for Obama and boy did last year stink. Now I believe he is going to pull it off. It’s all racial and I’ve got more wood pile in me than he has. He had a white mother.

Georgia peach

February 24th, 2010
9:15 am

If you have not benefited from the stimulus please do not comment…. Oooooh yeah right, we all have benefited even if you do not want to admit it or not. The stimulus may not have benefited the way you may have wanted it to but we have ALL benefited. How do you think we have been able to save Police Officers, Firefighters, Teachers, and State Employees from being layed off or furloughed more additional days?…this has also impacted cities and county employees and/or services as well… and lets not forget those that are getting unemployment benefits…. SO YES!!!! WE all have benefited in some way… We are in crisis people!! We need to stop all of the blaming, fighting and work together to fix our nations problems… I am a State Employee and I have been furloughed once a month for the past year and a half! My spouse is a Teacher and they have been furloughed as well so if anyone has the right to say that the stimilus has helped it is my family … because we both could have lost our jobs. I had many co-workers that have lost their jobs…. but due to the stimulus I have many more co-workers that are thankful for the stimulus because it has saved our jobs from being cut. So PLEASE stop whinning about President Obama! These same Politicians that are saying that the stimulus has not worked are standing in front of pictures cheesing and smiling while holding up a stimulus check that benefited some program in their area…. wow, you talk about a hypocite….

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
9:16 am

Peadawg

You may call it whatever you wish….I’ll give YOU a pass.

Sam

February 24th, 2010
9:18 am

Pee, Bush’s irresposible tax cuts led to Obama having issue these tax cuts. its like a viscious cycle… if W. was a little smarter about his cuts (way too much, most went to super rich, cut taxes during 2 wars?) Obama wouldnt have had to issue his…you’ve got to see that, right?

jt

February 24th, 2010
9:18 am

There is no free lunch.

Just because some republican’s seem hypocritical , doesn’t mean that the stimulus was a net benefit.

Our children will pay more than us.

1 lb butter beans= 2.50 dollars NOW.

john

February 24th, 2010
9:21 am

Can the AJC get a decent, conversative writer. Ms. Tucker, we get it…your black, Obama is black =…everything Obama does is the greatest thing ever!!!

How about some objectivity for once…oh, I forgot…this is the AJC..

Barry Osborne

February 24th, 2010
9:25 am

I’m not a fan of the stimulus, but I’m an enemy of hypocracy … so thanks for pointing it out publicly. People deserve to see how two-faced their politicians are. That’s a non-partisan statement, by the way.

Barry Osborne

February 24th, 2010
9:28 am

hyprocrisy I’d like to say hypocracy was a clever form-of-government joke, but that’s not what happened. Bad spelling happened.

Barry Osborne

February 24th, 2010
9:29 am

hypocrisy Dang, I need some coffee.

Sam

February 24th, 2010
9:29 am

whatever happened to Butterbean?

Peadawg

February 24th, 2010
9:29 am

“you’ve got to see that, right?”

I see “Obama” and “tax cut” in one sentence, yet no outrage from the left. The stuff Obama has been doing = GOOD. Bush did some of the same things = BAD. I do see it!

Scout

February 24th, 2010
9:35 am

Yawn ……………….

The Thin Guy

February 24th, 2010
9:40 am

Slavery was good for Georgia. But that didn’t make it right. As long as the government keeps printing money as fast as the ink will go on the paper, the value of what you have will continue to decline. When you retire and find out that a cheeseburger and a cup of java costs $ 75 just remember how we got there.

Keep it Real!

February 24th, 2010
9:40 am

Wow, wow, wow so many on this blog are just like the politicians who voted against the stimulus but went to the ribbon cutting contest and stated look what I did for ya! I bet no one on this blog turn down the money!

I recently heard about a recent survey that stated Governor Purdue has a 53 percent approval rating. If that is true, then I really need to leave this state because the residents of this state are really smoking too much stupidity!

swampthing

February 24th, 2010
9:47 am

john….you’re an idiot, there are no decent conservative writers. david brooks is the closest and i’m sure he wouldn’t pass your purity test. go get your objectivity on fox you racist a*@.

Dee keith

February 24th, 2010
9:48 am

Correction Robert expensive war that Blackwater and Halliburtons of the world pocketed large sums of tax payer money through no bid contracts. My basic point is conservative economic policy’s are proven failures, the fact that the term VOO DOO economics was coind under a Republican/conservative president proves that.

Swede Atlanta

February 24th, 2010
9:49 am

Peadawg, the difference between the Bush and Obama tax cuts were the environments and reasons for passing them.

Bush’s tax cuts were done under the “trickle down” theory. The majority of the cuts benefitted those upper middle class and above. The idea was this would induce them to invest and create jobs. Whether you believe in the trickle-down theory or not these cuts were done when the economy was experiencing a modest downturn at the end of an precedented expansion in the late 90s and in the aftermath of 9-11.

The tax cuts were not “paid for” in the sense that they were not offset by spending cuts either immediately or in the long-term. If the cuts were intended to help the economy during the downturn and a temporary increase in the deficit was considered acceptable, then as the economy recovered, those tax cuts should have been paid for.

The majority of the Obama cuts have gone to middle class and lower tax payers and were passed during a time of unprecedented economic downturn. The idea was if you give average Americans more of their money they will directly spend it spurring on not investment related job growth but create direct demand for goods and services.

So for comparison

Bush – Benefits mostly wealthy – Moderate economic downturn – $1.3 Trillion

Obama – Benefits average Americans – Severe, historic downturn – $282BN

There is a definite reason why critics of the Bush cuts have a more compelling argument.

Keep up the good fight!

February 24th, 2010
9:50 am

I love to see statements calling for “balance” in reporting. Pointing out the hypocrites is balance. The Repugs and Tea Partiers have ranted and raved against the stimulus and continue to try to create their own facts. The stim is working, it would have worked better had it not included Republican tax cuts. For those who dont think the stim is working, where is your outrage against Gingrey and other repugs who apparently are “lying” when they bring stim money to your districts.

The stim was never meant to address the deficits left by Bush after receiving a budget surplus from Clinto. It was meant to avoid a devastating depression. Health care helps address the budget deficits and there will be other measures taken.

Tax cuts are not stimulus and will not help pay the deficits Bush and his tax cuts created. PD, you cant argue the facts, you can only ignore them or twist them into the lies and unintelligible nonsense you want to believe and vent.

Scout

February 24th, 2010
9:50 am

The Thin Guy:

Excellent point ………. but you risk getting Ms. Tucker started on the race thing.

TnGelding

February 24th, 2010
9:51 am

Georgia and every other state. Time will tell if it was worth it. I would say yes, but it might have been better to just give the money to big business in lieu of layoffs. It would have paid the 8 million let go $50k for two years, and about 20% of it would have been recovered by federal taxes. Payroll taxes alone would have recovered 15.3%.

People that keep up with current events know the GOP will say or do anything to keep from having to admit they are/were wrong.

Sam

February 24th, 2010
9:53 am

Pee, what i meant was its not the same, not even remotely the same. of course generalizing is what you do best, its easy and short sighted…tax cuts are all about where they are targeted and how big/small they are….Bush II’s were too big and targeted to the wealthiest among us (i.e. the folks who need them the least)….Obama’s mat be too small but at least they are going to the right place…in my humble opinion.

Granny Godzilla

February 24th, 2010
9:55 am

Swede Atlanta

Well done post. Thanks.

Sam

February 24th, 2010
9:56 am

slavery was good for georgia? depends on who you ask….