Josh Marshall is coming close to an aneurysm about the stupidity of Republican comments on the stimulus. First it was Jim DeMint arguing that something couldn’t be a stimulus bill because it is a spending bill. Now comes newly-crowned GOP chair Michael Steele claiming that “not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job” — a statement of transparent idiocy.
But look! Now the LA Times editorial board — or, for all we know, a few guys they found out of the phone book, given the paper’s recent hurtle into stupidity, seems to buy the same idea. From their latest editorial on the stimulus:
Too many of the items have little apparent connection with economic growth — witness the nearly $5 billion for prevention, wellness, “comparative effectiveness research” and training in the health field, the $2.1 billion for Head Start and the $300 million to improve teacher quality, just to name a few examples from the 647-page House bill.
As Dr. Black would say: The stupid! It burns! If you spend $5 billion on preventing disease, then that leads to higher productivity. If you use that $5 billion to hire people — nurses, say — to help people stay well, then that means that those nurses have salaries, and spend money. If you use that money to make the health care system more efficient, then that frees up other resources for productive investment. If Head Start effectively prepares children for school, then that is long-term productivity growth as well. And who teaches in Head Start? Well, uh, maybe teachers, who earn salaries, and then spend the money. Haven’t these guys ever heard of the WPA?
We’ve learned over the last few days that the LA Times cannot do the simple job of distinguishing between “rendition” and “extraordinary rendition.” Its reporters — and now, apparently, its editorial writers — are getting spun repeatedly by the right-wing noise machine.
This comes on the heels of the Times deciding to kill its California section, and deciding to keep its now four-page Business section, which yesterday featured such incisive reporting as the 25 cheapest places to go in southern California (which covered 75% of the front page of the section).
What’s next? Saddam Hussein’s heartbreak?