The favorite media storyline on the stimulus bill is not how much money will be wasted, how ill-prepared we are to spend it, how non-stimulative much of it is, or even what its impact is on the country’s future budgetary train wreck. No, it is the Republican governors who are “embroiled” in a fight about whether to use the stimulus money in their states. That mantra is repeated endlessly — the GOP governors are “at odds” or “in conflict.” This is rubbish, even for the MSM.
There is no “conflict” if Minnesota uses every dime and South Carolina chooses not to increase the sums available for unemployment insurance. It’s no skin off the noses of Mississippi voters if Californians want to use all the funds. It’s called federalism — each state determines what is appropriate, how funds are to be used, and whether they wish to embark on an expansion of programs which lack future funding.
Yes, the feds did make a sly attempt to force the state legislatures to spend the money (via a measure inserted by Rep. James Clyburn) even if the governor of a certain state rejects part of the money. That’s a nasty bit of unconstitutional meddling in states’ internal operations by the federal government. If the congressmen and president demand the money be spent, let them spend it. But they do not have the right to order states to do what they won’t do themselves.
Which returns us to the faux controversy kicked up by the media. I suppose any resistance to implementing the will of the Obama administration is fodder for their ire. And it’s always fun for them to stir the pot among Republicans. But this is a stretch. Governors have every right and obligation to make decisions for their states. Governors — unlike the media, Congress, and the president – are now taking time to examine what’s in the massive spending measure and figure out what makes sense for their states.
That’s certainly a departure from the last few weeks, and likely a story the Obama-cheering media would rather not examine. People, after all, might start wondering why politicians now are only beginning to read this monstrous bit of legislation.