Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) toured the Waterloo, Iowa factory of OMJC Signals Inc. yesterday, where she told the workers that her policy plan for building job growth — lower taxes, less government spending, and fewer government regulations — would help companies like OMJC succeed and “grow, grow, grow, grow, grow” in ways they haven’t been able to under President Obama.
There was only one problem. OMJC builds and assembles traffic lights, and its business and profits depend on the types of government investments into roads, bridges, and infrastructure that have been consistently proposed by Obama and Democrats and consistently opposed by Bachmann and Republicans, as the Los Angeles Times reports:
Standing before a row of shiny orange trailers carrying portable solar-powered traffic lights, she said her plans for a smaller government with fewer rules and lower spending would help OMJC Signal Inc. “grow, grow, grow, grow, grow.”
“That’s my goal — to see you succeed wildly,” the Minnesota congresswoman told a gathering of OMJC workers on the plant floor here in the central Iowa town where she grew up.
But OMJC thrives on the kind of road and bridge spending that Obama has promoted as a key remedy to the nation’s economic slowdown. As much as 80% of OMJC’s revenue comes from government, according to the company’s chief executive, Arlen Yost.
OMJC’s owner told the Times that business has remained stable throughout the recession as the government has maintained investments in infrastructure projects in an attempt to spur the economy. But while Bachmann claims she wants to help OMJC “grow, grow, grow, grow, grow,” her voting record tells a different story. Before Bachmann voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, she and her Republican colleagues worked to reduce the amount of infrastructure spending contained in the package. Bachmann and the GOP opposed a Democratic infrastructure spending plan in 2010. And of Obama’s recent jobs plan, Bachmann said it was full of “temporary gimmicks” and that Congress shouldn’t pass it.
Not only would Bachmann’s policies hurt the business she claimed she wanted to help, they continue to hurt the nation she wants to lead. As ThinkProgress has reported, more than a quarter of America’s bridges are rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. In Minnesota, 13 percent of bridges are deficient or obsolete, and nearly a third of the state’s roads are considered poor or mediocre. In Iowa, Bachmann’s birthplace and center of her presidential campaign, 27 percent of the bridges are rated deficient or obsolete, and more than 40 percent of its roads are poor or mediocre. According to recent studies, the U.S. needs as much as $2 trillion just to bring its infrastructure up to date.