While the writing was already on the wall, two Illinois Republicans went on record yesterday in opposition
to the economic recovery package favored by President Obama. The Southern’s Jason Nevel tracked down GOP Reps. John Shimkus and Tim Johnson, both of whom raised
While the writing was already on the wall, two Illinois Republicans went on record yesterday in opposition to the economic recovery package favored by President Obama. The Southern’s Jason Nevel tracked down GOP Reps. John Shimkus and Tim Johnson, both of whom raised concerns about the size of the proposal. “If the rumors are as we’re hearing,” Shimkus said, “I think you can expect me to vote no.” Johnson echoed his colleague: “I think a trillion dollars is almost inconceivable to most people. I can’t imagine a circumstance where I would support a level of spending that high.”
While we've expressed concerns about the make-up of the stimulus package, Republican complaints about its size strike us as a bit strange. After all, none of them cared too much about the deficit when it was being exacerbated by the Iraq war or tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent. (While Roskam wasn’t yet in office, Kirk, Shimkus, Biggert, Manzullo, and Johnson all voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq and to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.)
Nor do they seem to care that few serious economists share their position. “Countering a deep economic recession requires an increase in government spending to offset the sharp decline in consumer outlays and business investment that is now under way,” wrote prominent conservative economist Martin Feldstein in the Wall Street Journal last month. “Without that rise in government spending, the economic downturn would be deeper and longer.”
The only conclusion we can reach is that the congressional delegation has no problem watching the unemployment rate rise to 10 percent next year. That state budgets are hemorrhaging -- forcing officials to cut funding for schools, construction, health care, and social services for the most vulnerable -- is apparently of no concern either. It’s tax cuts or nothing for this crew.
Image of Springfield loan shops by Flickr user vividBreeze.