Monday, August 23, 2010

Ed Martin Tries to Rewrite History

FiredUp Missouri caught Ed Martin hilariously claiming that he is in support of a revival of the Works Progress Administration, the largest New Deal program that employed millions of people in public works projects across the country. Here's the relevant exchange:
MARTIN: I live in South City, and you drive down on River Des Peres and you'll see in the bricks the WPA symbol. And what we didn't do -- we took $1.2 trillion in the stimulus -- we didn't do shovel ready jobs.

JACO: Would you have been in favor of those kind of things -- maybe a son of the WPA -- to put people to work immediately on public-sector construction jobs.

MARTIN: Emphatically yes. I mean, emphatically yes. And I think places like Highway 21 in Jefferson County, they're desperate to finish the roads. The federal government has a role to play, and I think you and I can talk about how big or small the role is. But public level infrastructure, I think we should have done that. We would have put, put people together. I mean, we built the Zoo, we built the memorials. We should have said -- and even during the WPA, we sometimes said -- if workers need 20 hours each to build a 40 hour because we have two men that need a job, in this case two men and women, we'll split it up. You get 20 each. I'm emphatically for that.
Martin and his flunkies like Jim Durbin (who by the way, proved my prediction wrong by actually addressing the issue, however disingenuously) are trying to argue that they were never opposed to the stimulus: they were just opposed to the way the stimulus funds were being used. They would have been totally cool with the stimulus, they argue, if only the money had been spent on "shovel-ready" projects.

So first of all, as pointed out by Sean, the stimulus money was used for things that benefitted the economy, in Missouri and all around the country:
The $862 billion package was divided roughly in thirds among tax cuts, aid to states and the unemployed, and investments in infrastructure, health care and other areas. The first two have delivered most of their boost, but much of the investment spending is moving far more slowly. At the end of July, nearly 18 months after the stimulus passed, more than half of the $275 billion in investments had yet to be spent.

Underlying the slow pace is a defining tension: Officials want to get money out the door to jolt the economy but want to spend it carefully enough to meet long-term policy aims -- and avoid headlines about waste or fraud.
But even more unfortunately for Ed Martin than simply being wrong is the fact that he has a long, documented history of comments that contradict the claim that he would have been in support of the stimulus if only it had been used differently. Here's a sampling of his comments that contradict his claim that he would have supported "shovel-ready" spending by the federal government:

November 17, 2009:
Want real stimulus? Cut Taxes
November 18, 2009:
Our elected leaders do not grasp the fact that nobody – not even the government – can borrow your way out of debt!

There is another way. Truth is, there is only one tried and tested formula for job creation and real economic growth that has succeeded EVERY TIME it has ever been tried.

My plan for job creation and economic growth follows a tried and tested formula that has succeeded EVERY TIME it has ever been tried! I’ll be blogging and talking about this a lot in the coming days and weeks, but the cornerstone of real prosperity is IMMEDIATE TAX RELIEF.

December 3, 2009, in a post titled "Jobs Grow When Washington Gets Out of the Way:
Job creation is the one thing our economy needs and the one thing Washington is hopelessly incapable of producing. They seem to think that a group of highly educated academics can engineer prosperity by forcing together labor, government and business.
My friends, it really is this simple. Job creation requires nothing more from our government than a willingness to let it happen.

December 12, 2009:
Russ’ problem isn’t a lack of advice, nor a lack of good advice. Russ’ service to Missouri is service to Big Government and the politically connected. Every problem has one answer “let government control it.” The only advice he needs for jobs is to get government out of the way, advice he has been ignoring his whole career.
So when Martin said "get government out of the way," he actually meant create a Works Progress Administration with federal funding to help improve our country's infrastructure?

January 27:
While I support calls to freeze spending, President Obama’s words again are already out of tune with his action. He is freezing only certain spending. He plans to keep spending billions overseas even as Americans struggle here at home. Given that he is already engaging in sleight of hand, how can we believe the most profligate spender in American history or his free-spending, rubber-stamping congressmen like Russ Carnahan will change?
Hmm, how exactly does one "freeze spending" while creating a new Works Progress Administration?

And, as recently as June 29:
Nothing about this is surprising. Tea party activists all across the nation warned against the $787 billion dollar stimulus. We knew from managing our own financial lives that America cannot borrow and spend its way into prosperity. The Federal government has no money of its own to waste, it can only take it from the private sector – or in this case obligate. Billions in spending will, like night follows day, lead to billions in taxes.
The only thing that can save America is Americans. We need congress to stop spending, reduce regulation, relax taxes and undo legislation that has been signaling businesses that the Federal government is going to punish their efforts to prosper with higher taxes and increased red tape.
The idea that Ed Martin has always supported a WPA is a laughable joke. This is a desperate move on his part because he realizes that aligning himself with fringers like Durbin, Hennessy, and Loesch is not going to win an election in the 3rd District.

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