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February 04, 2009 08:13 PM UTC

The Bailout is Wrong! Where's Our Bailout Money?

  • by: Colorado Pols

What is it with our local elected officials thinking they’re members of congress all of a sudden? Earlier this week the Colorado legislature wasted a day debating the Israel-Palestinian conflict, as though a resolution from the Colorado legislature will solve the issue.

Now we have the Larimer County Commissioners passing a resolution condemning the stimulus package in Congress and laughably – and arrogantly – acting as though our leaders in Washington should take their advice on the financial mess. “I hope the Senate will take this warning and move forward in a different manner,” said Commissioner Tom Donnelly.

But the best, or worst, part of this story comes from Commissioner Steve Johnson, the former State Senator who used to be one of the more reasonable moderates in the legislature.

The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution opposing the $819 billion package of federal tax cuts and spending programs that passed the House of Representatives last week…

…Commissioner Steve Johnson, who wrote the resolution, said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act carries too much “wasteful” spending and would add to the national debt, which already stands at $10 trillion. But he said the county will spend whatever money it gets if the bill passes…[Pols emphasis]

…In a telephone interview, Johnson said the county would use money from the stimulus package since its taxpayers would be helping to foot the bill.

“Once it’s the law of the land, there’s no reason why our citizens shouldn’t benefit from it,” he said.

That’s real leadership, folks.


13 thoughts on “The Bailout is Wrong! Where’s Our Bailout Money?

  1. at least the internal consistency of it.

    There is nothing inconsistent in saying, “I am opposed to this federal spending program, but I will spend our share if it passes.” While I am in favor of the stimulus package, I am also in favor of well-reasoned discourse, which includes not exploiting levels-of-analysis errors to portray opponents as hypocrits.

    Here is another example of a non-hypocritical position: I am in favor of higher gas taxes, but do not unilateral donate money to the government whenever I buy gas.

    The point is, that in a prisoners dilemma, it is perfectly rational to prefer to come to some binding cooperative solution, but, failing to do that, act in your own individual best interest. This is exactly how pork-barrel politics works: Many people realize that it would be in our collective self-interest to eliminate it, but few want their representatives to stop bringing the pork home unilaterally.

    So, whatever other merits, or lack thereof, that Steve Johnson’s position may display, internal inconsistency isn’t one of them.

    1. But the Larimer County Commissioners didn’t NEED to pass a resolution on this. Johnson created his own hypocrisy by introducing the resolution to begin with. It was completely unnecessary. It’s not like the citizens of Larimer County were demanding to know the Commissioner’s position on the stimulus bill.  

      1. but not with the supposed fallacy highlighted in your subject title. In other words, there was no need to weigh in on a subject over which he has no jurisdiction, but the content of how he weighed in is not internally inconsistent.

        Just trying to keep you honest.

        1. 819 BILLION DOLLARS! – $819,000,000,000.00


          Yea gotta love California: 40 BILLION DOLLARS IN “SHOVEL READY DEBT”

          $ 40,000,000,000.00 in debt they can’t pay

            1. He just hits reply, closes his eyes, and starts typing. The above post was created through sheer luck.

              If you stuck an infinite number of Libertads at an infinite number of computers, they would eventually write the collected works of Proust.

            2. This is exactly how pork-barrel politics works: Many people realize that it would be in our collective self-interest to eliminate it, but few want their representatives to stop bringing the pork home unilaterally.

              Well, here is a leader of what 5-10 million citizens, he has the balls to go national with his concerns.

              Therefore the post fits right in the diary.

              Hopefully you are young and will be/are earning tons of money to pay the future tax burdens for your 2009 dreamy pork spending.

              1. but responding to someone else, whether real or imaginary, specific or generic.

                My approach is to identify long-term global goals and underlying dynamics, and try to work with the latter to address the former, often identifying shorter term goals that serve that purpose. The fact that someone doesn’t just wildly flail with their words, ranting about the horrors of a world that doesn’t simply conform to their ideological assumptions, does not mean that they do not recognize the challenges we face. It only means that they actually face them.

                Are pork-barrel spending and a huge national debt serious problems? Of course they are. Are they the only problems we face, or always the predominant problems we face? Of course not. Is identifying how they function an essential component of addressing these problems? Of course.

                By the way, it is important to keep in mind that T-bills currently pay 2.5% interest. While our compounding national debt is never a good thing, it is less of a bad thing when we are paying such low, long-term interest on it. So this is, in a way, a propitious moment: There is a serious demand for massive stimulus spending (which, despite all of the noise to the contrary, history has proven works, if in no other instance than in WWII itself), and there is a unique availability of cheap money.

                It’s not an ideal situation, but however much deficit spending we indulge in now, it’s real effect on our national debt is half of what it would be, dollar-for-dollar, than were we to spend the same amount at a 5% annual interest rate (which is still on the low side).

                The above is not, as you will no doubt infer, an unequivocal, ringing endorsement of all aspects of the stimulus plan, or of just spending as much as possible because we have low interest rates available. It is, as hard as it may be to grasp, simply the identification of one relevant factor among many, that should be taken into account to exactly the extent that it is relevant and salient.

                That’s one way to do things. Another is just to rant. I’ll stick with my technique, and I’ll happily leave you to yours.

              2. Look, we can argue the merits of Keynsian economics, but just because the numbers have a lot of zeros isn’t much of an argument.

                And all that stuff the feds did with interest rates and congress did with tax cuts over the past few years worked out really well, huh.

                So, yeah, I’d rather have dreamy pork spending than full-blown depression. How about you?

                Oh, BTW, the population of Larimer County is 280,000.  

    2. I count Johnson as one of those people who occasionally feel moved to ‘go on record’ on the great issues of the day.  It’s annoying but usually harmless, as in, “I want the record to show that I oppose the infield fly rule.”  Stuff like that.

      But Johnson was oddly silent on the first TARP and the Iraq War, and the Bush tax cut, and a whole bunch of other wasteful stuff.  

      And he and his Republican pals MIGHT have actually worked to create a Rainy Day Fund with the surpluses of the late 1990’s.   Might have helped soften current suffering significantly.  

      My question is why he’s getting religion NOW, after he’s voluntarily left the State Senate, the JBC, and the hoards of people who might care what he thinks.  That’s right, Steve Johnson left a position of influence to run for County Commissioner.  A responsible position in an important county, but not so much responsibility at being one of two designated ‘not-too-crazy’ Republican legislators on the Joint Budget Committee.  Johnson has always preferred that government devote itself mostly to building roads and bridges, keeping taxes low, and even raiding the state General Fund to support the state’s ridiculously unsustainable transportation funding.  So the transportation funding elements of the stimulus package might have been something he welcomed, as well as unemployment benefit extensions, food stamps and other stuff that his constituents in Larimer County are really needing.  So, what gives?

      Righteous palaver seems epidemic among Republicans these days.  Maybe the Republican Borg has ordered all party members to gesture in the same resentful direction.

      Maybe raving is his future.  Being a big fish in the tiny Larimer Courthouse pond is not so rich in attention-getting opportunities as being a medium sized fish in the big State Capitol pond.

      Maybe he’s planning on a run for US Senate.  We don’t have any former veteranarians in there at the moment and there is always a big demand for that sort of thing.

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