In February, only three Republican senators broke party ranks to vote for the economic recovery package. Zero House Republicans voted for passage. Part of their opposition centered around the belief that an increase in government spending would do nothing to create jobs:
– “And first off the government doesn’t create jobs. Let’s get this notion out of our heads that the government creates jobs. Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job. Small business owners do, small enterprises do. Not the government.” [RNC Chairman Michael Steele, 2/2/09]
– “Instead of focusing on three major issues — job creation, housing and compassion for Americans who have lost jobs through no fault of their own — to boost the economy, this bill has morphed into a bloated government giveaway.” [Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), 2/10/09]
– “When it comes to slow-moving government spending programs, it’s clear that it doesn’t create the jobs or preserve the jobs that need to happen.” [House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), 1/21/09]
However, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced plans to end production of the F-22 at the current 187 planes — down from the 381 planes the government was expected to order — many of these same conservatives were up in arms over the jobs that would be lost.
Chambliss, in particular, said that he was concerned people in his state would lose jobs if F-22 production was cut, because “when it comes to stimulating the economy, there’s no better way to do it than to spend it in the defense community.” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who also voted against the economic recovery package, similarly said, “I also believe that it is unacceptable that this administration wants to eliminate 2,000 jobs in Marietta and potentially 95,000 jobs nationwide at a time when unemployment rates are rising across the country.”
Today on ABC’s This week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called out this hypocrisy:
KRUGMAN: What’s so wonderful is watching Republican congressmen saying, “But this will cost jobs!” The very same Republican congressmen who were denouncing the stimulus, saying government spending never creates jobs, but cutting defense spending costs jobs. It’s wonderful.
Military correspondent David Axe has pointed out that it’s possible very few workers will lose their jobs because of Gates’s announcement. In fact, thousands of workers will likely be “snapped up for active production lines churning out F-16s, F-35s, C-130s and modernized C-5s for Lockheed, not to mention the prospect that industry rivals Boeing and Northrop might lure Lockheed workers for their own active production lines for the F-15, F/A-18 and others.”