This is what happens when you cut over $100 billion from an economic stimulus bill — including $40 billion to help revenue-starved states — for no reason better than wanting the numbers to be smaller:
In February, when the debate over the economic stimulus package was at its height, a handful of “centrist” Senate Republicans said they’d block a vote on recovery efforts unless the majority agreed to slash over $100 billion from the bill.The group, which didn’t have any specific policy goals in mind and simply liked the idea of a small bill, specifically targeted $40 billion in proposed aid to states. Helping rescue states, Sen. Collins & Co. said, does not stimulate the economy, and as such doesn’t belong in the legislation. Democratic leaders reluctantly went along — they weren’t given a choice since Republicans refused to give the bill an up-or-down vote — and the $40 billion in state aid was eliminated.
In the past, government hiring had managed to somewhat offset losses in the private sector, but government jobs declined by 53,000, with the biggest number of cuts on the local and state levels. Even the Postal Service, which is included in the public-sector job statistics, dropped 5,300 jobs.
“The major surprise came from the public sector, where every level of government cut back,” Naroff said. “The budget crises at the state and local levels have caused an awful lot of belt-tightening.”
As I type this, conservative lawmakers, bloggers, and media pundits are partying over the Olympic Committee’s decision to knock Chicago (and thus the United States — hello?) out of the running as a host city for the 2016 Olympics — crowing, among other things, that instead of “doing such silly things” in Denmark, Obama should have been in Washington dealing with the worsening unemployment numbers.
If those same lawmakers, bloggers, and pundits had not been actively opposing, condemning, blocking, obstructing, and attempting to sabotage every effort by the Obama administration to productively and constructively address the many pressing domestic problems this country faces — like the economic and health care crises — then perhaps telling reporters that the President shouldn’t be “going … off to Copenhagen when we’ve got serious issues here at home that need to be debated,” and that “promoting Chicago” is fine, but “the problems we have here at home affect all Americans and that’s where his attention ought to be,” would not be so thoroughly cynical.