I’ve sent a number of missives (both hardcopy and softcopy) to Senator Tim Johnson. Therefore, I’m on his mailing list. Of course, so is most of the rest of South Dakota. However, I was interested to receive the most recent mailing from his office (not his campaign). In a brief series of posts, we’ll be looking at each of the areas he addressed in this mailing.
First up is the stimulus. Original article below (first as image and then as text).
South Dakota Wins Big in Stimulus Package
Money and tax cuts from the economic stimulus package enacted in February are already at work in South Dakota. Communities in every corner of our state have received funding for important projects that create jobs and further improve the our quality of life.
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson was pleased that the stimulus package yielded $12 million to increase the capacity of Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, which serves thousands of South Dakota families through a wide swath of Eastern South Dakota. A $6.7 million investment in the Mitchell Airport will support the region’s transportation system.
The economic stimulus package also provided funding for a wide variety of other South Dakota priorities, ranging from cardiac research at the University of South Dakota (USD) to repairing National Guard Armories in Brookings and Huron. Improvements will be made to the Gavins Point Fish Hatchery, as well as the National Wildlife Refuges located at Sand Lake, Madison and Waubay.
“These are just a few examples of the many substantial investments in our communities and in our future that were made possible by the economic stimulus package,” Johnson said. “The focus on good jobs combined with important infrastructure investments will generate economic activity that turns our economy around and returns our home towns and local communities to prosperity.”
While Tim shares concerns about the impact of the stimulus package on our budget deficit, mainstream economists assert that it is cheaper in the long run to get our economy moving again than to allow it to fall deeper and deeper into recession. Recent economic data support this view.
First off, nothing about how much money South Dakota got overall in the stimulus, nothing about how much of the stimulus money went to bailing out the state government’s 2009 budget. Nothing about how much more of the stimulus money will be needed to help out in that same regard for 2010 and 2011.
Then there is “a focus on good jobs.” Where is this focus and what is the difference between a good job and a not-so-good job?
Finally, there is the last paragraph, which is where I’d like to spend most of the time. At first blush, it seems to acknowledge that there are those who disagree with the Senator and he shares their concerns. But then the piece does something which is a definite no-no: It provides two separate unreferenced facts as the complete basis for throwing out any disagreement that the stimulus is good for South Dakota.
Within this paragraph, we have a reference to “mainstream economists.” Are Thomas Sowell and other economists of similar stripe not in the mainstream because they disagree with the current Bidenesque approach of borrowing our way out of a recession? Does the Senator know that by definition (at least by Wikipedia definition, so take it with a grain of salt) “mainstream economists” are divided over the benefits of the government meddling in the markets?
The second reference is to “[r]ecent economic data” which “supports this view” that borrowing more is better. Which data would that be? The data which shows the unemployment rate increasing beyond any measure of what we were told it would once the stimulus was enacted? The data which shows that we are now spending 40% of our personal income taxes to just service the national debt?
Must be some other data. I’d really like to know what it is. Surely it wouldn’t have been that hard to write a few more sentences giving us the sources for those statements. After all–franking is free, if you are a Senator.