Sunday, July 17, 2011

How well are the States doing?

I'm not sure if Jack Kelly understands the complexity of the situation he is writing about this week. Early in his column he writes "With Washington gridlocked, much of the action on the fiscal crisis has moved to the states." So many conservatives, including commenters on local blogs, keep blathering about how the stimulus failed. Paul Krugman lets us know how much of that stimulus in fact was tax cuts and aid to states to keep them going (although Obama foolishly steered those tax cuts to lower income people, who of course do nothing more than spend money instead of buying the more sensible Wall Street stocks). Krugman said back in 2009 that the stimulus was not only too small, but had too little in the way of direct spending ("shovel ready projects") and too much in those tax cuts and aid to the states. Although both those components helped, direct spending would have helped more.

But we all know that that the stimulus was supposed to be temporary, and so now the aid to the states is running out. What Kelly suggests is related to Washington gridlock is in fact the planned end of the temporary stimulus. I suppose you could say that gridlock is involved in the current fiscal problems the states are having. Republican intransigence in the healthcare debate, financial reform and in general in the Senate has slowed down the process of repairing the economy the Bush administration left us with, although Obama was at least able to wrangle enough out of the Republican two year old's masquerading as Congressmen to save us from a complete depression. So without the gridlock caused by the Republicans, the State's would probably not be ending public education, Medicaid and food assistance for the poor.

Well, maybe not ending quite yet, but I do think the actions of these states with Republican governors will make nigh impossible for new people to get into food and health aid programs, will bring many people closer to hunger, will hurt the education of poor kids in public schools and college. Am I right, or is Kelly's implication that the Republican governor's actions are just dandy actually true? Newspapers report here, here, here and here. Of course, the media I am quoting includes a Mother Jones piece, and anyway we know the "lame stream media" is not connected to reality as Jack Kelly understands it.

You decide.

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