As we noted earlier, amongst its myriad other problems, the budget that Republicans proposed today involves a five year spending freeze that would directly counteract the economic stimulus package. In fact, the GOP budget explicitly calls for the “repeal of ‘stimulus’ funding beyond this year, excluding unemployment insurance.”
MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer questioned Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) about this, asking “if you are cutting your tax revenue and cutting spending, how is that going to stimulate the economy?” Shadegg’s response was that drilling for oil offshore and in ANWR would be stimulus enough:
SHADEGG: Well there are lots of ways to stimulate the economy without spending money. […] For example, a group of us proposed the “no cost stimulus” bill a few weeks ago, in which we said if we would streamline many of the regulations that are slowing down for example a lot of the industrial work that could occur in this country, if we would streamline some of the regulations and expedite some of the processing of environmental challenges so we could be drilling off of our coast or drilling in ANWR…
BREWER: So your answer here is to allow damage to the environment, in order to create jobs?
The “no cost stimulus” Shadegg is referring to was a plan to create jobs “by opening up additional coastal areas for oil drilling and stripping oil companies of federal regulations.” As Steve Benen noted, “it’s almost as if [Rep. Paul] Ryan and his Republican colleagues are trying to destroy the economy.”
Indeed, the Republicans have proposed a stimulus killing spending freeze, while counting on a continuation of the Bush-Cheney energy disaster to fill the GDP gap. It’s an alternative that relies on supply-side tax cuts to spur economic growth, even though we’ve just emerged from an era of supply-side cuts that delivered the fewest job opportunities since the business cycle from August 1957 to April 1960, and the slowest job growth on record for those ages 25–54. In light of this, is it even worth calling their budget an “alternative” at all?