Monday, May 4, 2009

Ramsey Advocates Root-Canal Economics in Appeal for Teabagger Vote

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2009 at 5:10 AM

click to enlarge Teabaggers are running the lieutenant governor's office now.
  • Teabaggers are running the lieutenant governor's office now.
And you thought we'd settled the argument over whether state governments should accept federal stimulus funds. Even Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Alaska's Sarah Palin have fallen into line on this one. Only South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford stubbornly refused to back down, and legislators had to vote to force him to take the money. His approval rating plunged to 40 percent. Here in Tennessee, as it turns out, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey hasn't given up, either. Last week, he surprised reporters by volunteering that he'd rather cut university funding and other state services than take all of Tennessee's share of the money.
"We can't put this off. It's going to be tough. Could we take this money and just kind of plug holes? Other states are apparently doing that right now. But that is the wrong fiscal thing to do."

Naturally, Ramsey is short on specifics of funding cuts he'd like to make. That's because he doesn't really know what he's talking about. That much became apparent as reporters pressed the Senate speaker to explain himself.

"I know the philosophy where I am, but I haven't filled all the holes in yet. We're working with this. ... I honestly believe that in some cases the stimulus money is going to make things worse because it does mask a problem."

Ramsey sells his argument as fiscal prudence: If we don't cut now, we'll only have to do it in two years when the stimulus money disappears. But that's assuming the stimulus doesn't work. His claim that the money will create more problems than it solves goes against the consensus among economists who say the spending is necessary to any recovery. Whatever happens, it's impossible to predict how deeply Tennessee might have to cut in 2011. Why do it before it's necessary?

The answer is easy: Because Ramsey's running for governor, and the kind of conservatives who vote in Republican primaries would love him for it. Never mind that state government services already are pathetically meager, or that chopping colleges and causing student tuition hikes might not play so well in the general election. Ramsey's not worried about that. He's going after the teabagger vote. So he needs to come across as a heartless, penny pinching, government-hating nutjob. He's doing a good job of that so far. As the budget debate begins, here's a question for the legislature: Should we dismantle state government to help Ramsey's campaign for governor?

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Commented On

Top Topics in
Pith in the Wind

Media (71)


Phillips (58)


Politics (43)


Education (23)


Law and Order (18)


40 Jealous Whores (10)


Crazy Crap (9)


Around Town (5)


Congress (3)


Barry (2)


All contents © 1995-2014 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of City Press LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Powered by Foundation