This is in response to Glen Edquist’s letter to the editor on Monday (“Voters should send Upton packing in 2010”).
Congressman Upton’s no vote, while seeming to signal his nonsupport of the working middle class, might in fact be for a legitimate reason: the bill, as presented, was full of spending that would likely not serve to immediately stimulate the economy–which is the purpose of the bill. Much of what is in the bill amounts to projects that need to go through the normal appropriations process, rather than be pushed through in a giant omnibus bill. This is not nonsupport of labor; it is nonsupport of uncontrolled spending.
What might make more sense in our current situation is the alternative bill presented by freshmen Rep. Walt Minnick, D-ID, called the [Strategic Targeted American Recovery and Transition Act (START). According to this plan, $174 billion would be all that is necessary, with $100 billion in targeted tax cuts, $20 billion for school modernization, $4 billion for job training and work-force reinvestment, and $50 billion for highway, bridge and road projects.
Additionally, START would require that all funds not spent by 2010 be sent back to the Treasury, and halts stimulus spending when the GDP increases in two of the previous three quarters. This plan is designed to target job creation and stimulate spending.
START is just one alternative. Perhaps another plan with similar intentions would work better, but the problem with the stimulus package passed by the House and Senate isn’t that money is being spent. The problem is the shear magnitude of spending earmarked for something other than stimulus, and this is what I feel Congressman Upton’s position was in voting no on the stimulus package as presented to the House.
Note: This was my letter to the editor published in our local rag on Saturday February 14th, 2009.