I’m pretty impressed with John Boehner’s ability to zero in like a laser on the least-defensible possible position. For example: “Mr. Boehner and other Republicans have taken issue with the large chunk of funding in the stimulus package — some $300 billion all told — that will go to shore up the budgets of states.” In the serious-people universe, this is the least controversial form of federal outlay. The idea is merely to prevent overall public spending from dropping too precipitously at a time when state budget cuts would have a contractionary impact. As Tyler Cowen says:
In various emergencies it is inefficient that state and local governments are not allowed to run deficits but implicitly the Feds can do it for them.
One of the privileges of opposition, of course, is that you don’t really need to take responsibility for the consequences of your views. So if Boehner wants to take this line, nothing will really stop him or pull him back to planet earth. But it should be seen for what it is.