On NPR this morning, they were interviewing Republican congressman Mike Pence. When asked about the characterization of the stimulus package as “investment” he had this to say (from memory):
Well, when a farmer takes out a loan for a combine, he doesn’t have his children sign it.
No, he doesn’t, but he does expect to derive a net benefit from the purchase and to share that benefit with those children. Do you know what “investment” means, Mr. Pence? It means spending now to get more later. I seem to recall hearing a lot about how growing the economy would also increase government revenue and decrease deficits, back when the popular (but incorrect) view of how to grow the economy meant cutting taxes and gutting regulation. The part about the relationship between the economy and revenue still holds, even though there are now some different opinions about how to grow the economy. It’s not like stimulus spending is supposed to be permanent. We’ll still be paying for the Iraq war long after stimulus spending has ended, and those tax cuts so beloved of your party were supposed to be permanent. Talk about mortgaging our children’s future. Investment now is supposed to result in our children being better off than they would be without it. Why don’t you want our children to be better off?
It’s very nice of you to admit that the Republicans “fundamentally failed” in their duty to exercise fiscal discipline during better times, Mr. Pence, but that only raises the question of why we should expect Republicans to do any better if/when they’re given another chance. It’s easy to talk about how things should be done, when you bear no responsibility for actually doing them, and are not accountable for the results of what is done. When you actually did have that responsibility you failed, and you were held accountable. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Pence, and your party has not acted as the party of fiscal responsibility. Indeed, you’ve shown a propensity for spending way too much on the wrong things and way too little on the right ones. That’s why nobody trusts you any more. If you want to regain trust, start acting like you care about our future. Stop being obstructionist, stop setting records for filibusters and threats of filibusters in the Senate, start proposing something other than the policies that have already been tried and shown to fail.