God almighty, I found this link for about three minutes on the top of Google News ! It was gone just a few minutes later. But it was there, I swear it. This article is not from the kool aide drinkers on the left. It’s from people that know how the economy runs and what makes it work like a well oiled machine.
A federal economic stimulus package that could help balance the state budget and create jobs in Georgia won’t have the support of Atlanta-area Republicans in Congress.
While they agree the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill could ease state budget problems, local Republican congressmen argue the stimulus package isn’t good for Georgia or the economy in the long run.
“Everybody likes to get gifts,” said U.S. Rep. John Linder, a Republican from Duluth. “Somebody has to pay for them.”
Linder said his constituents are tired of bailouts and aren’t pressuring him to vote for the bill. He tells callers the package will pass, but not with his vote. The federal government is in worse shape than state governments, he said, and it has no business balancing their budgets. He argues there’s no guarantee the package would create “even one job,” and a better plan would cut taxes and help small businesses build a stable future.
Rep. Tom Price, a Roswell Republican, is pushing for more tax cuts and credits, too.
“We’re going to take money from Georgians, wash it through Washington, take off some of the money Georgians sent to Washington and then allow Georgians to have some of that money back,” Price said. “It absolutely makes no sense.”
The proposed bill includes about $825 billion in tax breaks and new federal spending, much of which would pass through to state governments.
In Georgia, more than $5.6 billion in stimulus money would go to K-12 education, transportation and infrastructure projects, Medicaid and public safety. Mark Zandi, an economist from Moodys.com who served as an adviser to Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, said last week the country will have 4 million more jobs by the end of 2010 if the plan is approved, 143,000 of them in Georgia.
“It’s a very broad-based package,” said Alan Essig, a former state budget analyst who runs the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, which bills itself as an independent think tank in Atlanta. “It should help lessen the need for state budget cuts, increase jobs and employment, help solidify the safety net when we really need one.”
Georgia is facing $2 billion in budget cuts, affecting teachers, police and firefighters. The state’s Medicaid program is short by $208 million.
The unemployment rate has risen above 8 percent. Zandi, the Moodys.com economist, estimates that the stimulus plan could lower it by 1.8 percent by the end of 2010.
“I don’t think anybody wants to hear you’re voting against it or that the money’s not going to be coming,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican from Grantville. If the bill dealt only with roads, infrastructure and job creation, he said, he would vote for it — but not as it’s written now.
Rep. Jack Kingston, a south Georgia Republican who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, faulted the package for spending too much on “left-leaning” social programs. He took particular aim at money earmarked for arts and health programs, including a national wellness program he characterized as creating something akin to a “national fat farm.”
“I thought what we were trying to do was support shovel-ready projects, but that’s absolutely not the case so far,” Kingston said. “It looks to me like a huge expansion of social programs and things we do not need to do in this atmosphere.”
But Atlanta and other cities have plenty of projects that can start immediately, said Rep. John Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat. He defended arts funding as a “great investment”and said the stimulus package should help middle-class Americans more than the tax rebates tried by the Bush administration.
“The economy is in a ditch and we need to do something now to get it out,” Lewis said. His advice for Georgia Republicans: “They should get behind their president and support him, because we need to act.”
President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve a plan by mid-February, and members of Congress say that’s likely to happen, even with some Republicans’ dissent.
While the stimulus plan will boost state economies, it won’t address one of the most important issues: the slow trickle of credit flowing from banks, said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University. Until a clear plan for financial institutions emerges, he said, the stimulus will act as economic aspirin, dulling the pain without finding a cure.
“If we don’t solve that problem,” Dhawan said, “the rest are unsolvable.”