In anticipation of the 1-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA "The Stimulus Package"), Jason Chaffetz posted a link on his Facebook page to one of his "good" sources of information: GOP.gov--oh, there couldn't possibly be any bias coming from that source--which asks "Where are the jobs?" Chaffetz accompanying remark was, "A year later.....we can't spend our way out of our problems."
I threw a test question out to the forum: Tell me, what exactly was it that got the US out of the great depression?
I got the answer that I expected: "World War II"
I've had similar discussions before and every critic of the stimulus like to point out that it was World War II and NOT the New Deal spending programs that lifted America out of the Great Depression.
But what was World War II if not situation that forced America to spend money that it didn't have? And did it not result in a national debt approaching 125% of GDP but also an economic boom that helped us pay off that debt within a decade?
If World War Two had never happened and the US Government decided to build all those tanks, aircraft, rifles, ships and tools of war anyway and then just took them out into the middle of the ocean and SANK them, the effect on the economy would have been the same; a major boom in wealth and prosperity which would have resulted in increased tax revenue, budget surpluses and paying down the national debt--only no lives would have been lost.
What I struggle to understand is why so many "conservatives" seem to have no problem with ringing up a national debt in the trillions in the name of security or for the sake of war--resulting in the unnecessary loss of American and foreign lives--but somehow they have a moral objection to short term deficit spending in the interest of rebuilding infrastructure and employing Americans while providing the impetus for the private economy to reboot. Why is war politically preferable to doing right by the people of this nation? Why is it okay spend billions of dollars destroying the infrastructure--and countless lives--of a foreign nation but it isn't okay to spend billions of dollars to say upgrade the U.S. power grid so the lights don't go out just because it rains?
Deficit spending for the government is not always a bad thing. It is in fact necessary during times of war and historically precedented during times of economic turmoil. Despite what Chaffetz and his minions claim, federal spending in the short term CAN provide a boost to the economy and that boost results in increased tax revenue in the long term that can help balance the federal budget and shrink the national debt.
Chaffetz does his constituents a disservice whenever he puts the government's fiscal policy in terms of home economics. The federal budget is not analogous to a household budget and someone who's serving the U.S. Congress--in the very chamber that determines what is and isn't spent--needs to understand that. So far Chaffetz has demonstrated that he doesn't have a basic grasp of macroeconomic theory--or he's pretending not to for the sake of scoring political points with uninformed constituents. Either way, we don't need any more Congressmen who are ignorant or lie to the people for the sake of a few extra votes. Utah doesn't need another politician in Washington, we need a representative who has the ability to see beyond the short term--i.e. the next election--and do right by those he or she represents.
And if there's any one reason the stimulus didn't live up to its expectations, we can blame "conservatives" in Congress for gutting it in exchange for the empty promise of bilateral support. What resulted was a hint of a stimulus that instead of reversing the recession, merely caused it to be less painful than it could have been. And wether you want to believe it or not, jobs were created by the stimulus, unfortunately the number of jobs created by government intervention was offset by the number of jobs lost in the private sector.
It should also be noted that the cost of the stimulus doesn't just represent spending, it also takes into account the LARGEST TAX-CUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY. And Republicans STILL voted against it.