Conservative hypocrisy on government and jobs creation

Conservative politicians of both parties are frequently guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of government’s role in job creation. Most of the time, these pols parrot the market fundamentalist line that government can do nothing to promote economic growth — except, that is, when the issue is a government program or expenditure in their district.

Think Progress posted some new and classic examples late yesterday. of conservative politicians trying to have it both ways.


  1. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Rob, I think a distinction needs to be made. When the government puts money into programs that actually produce something like Defense and NASA, it has the effect of creating jobs in the private sector for producers and suppliers. It has a multiplying effect. This is how public funds stimulate the economy and Ronald Reagan recognized this. When all you do is send money to state and local governments to help balance their budgets like Obama did, this does nothing for the economy.

  2. gregflynn

    July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Always entertaining when Frank just dives right in and performs fallacious.

    According to Associated General Contractors of America, stimulus spending on infrastructure in North Carolina does a lot for the economy:
    Economic Impact of Investment in Nonresidential Construction:

    An additional $1 billion invested in nonresidential construction [in NC] would add $3.4 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), $1.1 billion to personal earnings and create or sustain 28,500 jobs.
    * About one-third (9,700) of these jobs would be on-site construction jobs.
    * About one-sixth (4,600) of the jobs would be indirect jobs from supplying construction materials and services. Most jobs would be in-state, depending on the project and the mix of in-state suppliers.
    * About half (14,300) of the jobs would be induced jobs created when the construction and supplier workers and owners spend their additional incomes. These jobs would be a mix of in-state and out-of-state jobs. Conversely, investments elsewhere would support some indirect and induced jobs in the state.

  3. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Greg should consider comedy as he always causes me to chuckle in the morning. You can always count on Greg to “defend the Obama brand”. He twists and turns facts and figures to suit his nefarious goals. I’m betting he’s a lawyer.

    Infrastructure spending does in fact help the private economy, which is the good news. The bad news it was only 5% of the federal stimulus.

  4. david esmay

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Frank should consider a sanitarium of his choosing for his continued support of the discredited Expansionary austerity economic theory. The oxymoronic contraction expansion ideal of hyper-righty economic theorists such as frank and those he blindly follows, has zero supportive evidence to lend any credence to their model. Actually the evidence is that cutting spending, because government is a part of the economy, reduces growth and increases unemployment. Hyper-righty economic theorists invariably start with the answer they want and work backwards. When their blind dogma is in competition with the real world- dogma always wins with the hyper-right. They’re like Mao’s Red Guard during the cultural revolution- they love unquestionably dogmatic beliefs and disastrous social engineering experiments. Supply side economics comes to mind, the great Reagan doctrine of failure.

  5. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

    You are twisting my words into something incomprehensible. Federal spending does good things for the economy when it produces something like roads, tanks, ships, space shuttles, etc. When it goes to state and local governments to balance their budgets, it just puts us in a deficit hole and delays the inevitable state and local budget cutting.

  6. gregflynn

    July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

    If the citizens of Lenoir County hadn’t been the beneficiaries of stimulus funds they probably wouldn’t have scraped together the extra money needed to hire an engineer and replace the roof of the county library that’s been leaking for over 10 years.

    There are direct and indirect benefits from other local government stimulus categories with varying multiplier effects. I selected one category I thought you might understand.

  7. jlp75

    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Frank you shouldn’t complain if someone twists your words since you are the master of it. By the way some of the stimulus money that went to “fill the state budget” was used to four lane a highly congested area of Highway 401 between Raleigh and Rolesville which has made my commute much better. I guess that road just built it self. I suppose those weren’t private sector contractors I saw out there employing my fellow North Carolinians. I’m sure this didn’t help them turn around and spend their earnings at other private sector establishments. It must have been all my imagination. But hey at least the road materialized and I get to use it now.

  8. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Greg, jlp, What have I said that disagrees with your statements? My point was most of the stimulus went to just augment state and local budgets which was a failed stimulus. Using the funds for actual projects like the Lenoir County Library are good for stimulating the economy. Only 5% of the stimulus actually went into tangible projects.

  9. jlp75

    July 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Good something we can all agree on. Then you can also agree that the Republican talking point about government being unable to create jobs is false. This is what Rob was arguing. I did not see any mention of the stimulus in this article. I don’t doubt that some of the stimulus money probably wasn’t used for the best purposes. However let us not forget that another percentage of it was tax cuts. By Republican logic we should be swimming in jobs now. We aren’t.

  10. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    From what I’ve read economists are saying that you should not raise taxes in a recession. Somebody better tell Obama.

    I’m not aware of a GOP talking point that government spending does not create jobs. If its spent on projects then it does create jobs, like military, NASA and highways. If it is simply doled out to state and local governments to augment their budgets, then no it just puts us in a deficit hole. Successful businesses are not successful due to government largess, this is where Obama has a fundamental misunderstanding on the economy.

  11. gregflynn

    July 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Stimulus money didn’t pay for the Lenoir County library re-roofing project, but it did free up the money, an indirect benefit. Tax cuts were part of stimulus – no “tangible project”, but still benefits. The point is to get the money circulating in the local economy. You badmouth local government spending but you don’t mind taking the money, the essence of the original post, “Conservative hypocrisy on government and jobs creation”.

    Your claim earlier “all you do is send money to state and local governments to help balance their budgets” and “does nothing for the economy” is false. ProPublica has a county by county database of stimulus contracts, grants and loans, including Lenoir. Military spending is one way, but not the best way to create jobs.

    Here’s another comparison of the job creating power of $1 billion:
    11,200 Military Spending
    15,100 Tax Cuts for Personal Consumption
    16,800 Clean Energy
    17,200 Healthcare
    26,700 Education

  12. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Look at my original post. I was making a distinction regarding government spending. Sending federal money to help balance the state and local budgets is a temporary condition that does zero for the private economy but put us in a deficit hole. Spending money for projects has many benefits to the economy. I don’t disagree with this. The point is to stimulate the private businesses which has a multiplying effect to manufacturing and suppliers, not to make government workers comfortable.

    I don’t follow your example, those numbers don’t add up to $1Billion.

    Clean energy was a bust so don’t go there, all it did was repay Obama bundlers. How does healthcare spending help the economy?

    I don’t know what your point is in bringing up my personal business items, if you think it will deter me from speaking out, you are mistaken. I get the feeling that you are a stalker.

  13. gregflynn

    July 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Those are the numbers of jobs created by $1 billion spending in each sector. They’re not supposed to add up. It’s a comparison of the buying power of $1 billion. Twice as many jobs are created by spending on education than military spending. A $1 spent on clean energy or healthcare creates more jobs than military spending. You can read all about it here: The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update.

    Your government contracts are a matter of public record. I find them ironic. I happen to think it’s money well spent, especially as calls for reduced spending and tax cuts often impact capital spending on repairs and renovations which are deferred indefinitely. I’ve seen public buildings all over the state rot and fall down waiting for repair money.

  14. Frank Burns

    July 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    There is something we can agree on, money spent on maintenance is money well spent. When maintenance is deferred, the building problems get worse. I don’t get a whole lot of government work but I appreciate it when it comes. I try to do quality work and keep costs down to protect the taxpayers.

  15. david esmay

    July 20, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Frank, you keep talking about raising taxes, when the reality is, it will be the end of a long, protracted, and disastrous Tax Holiday.

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