Over the past year, we’ve seen an escalating level of rhetoric from certain conservative candidates in Utah condemning the so-called “out of control” spending spree of the United States Government, and the “failed policies” of the 2009 stimulus package. We call the rhetoric what it is… misleading!
There is legitimate debate surrounding the proper role of government in the lives of citizens, and whether or not the government (aka we as a people) should have an interest in helping those who are least among us. There is also legitimate debate surrounding how much of taxpayers’ money our governments should be spending on the myriad short-term and long-term projects that have been created. However, when we hear a candidate for office passionately pound the podium and rail against an “out of control spending spree,” or the “failed economic policies” of the stimulus plan, are they really engaging in the debate? No. Most candidates who make these accusations are actually perpetuating stereotypes and myths which they themselves have had a large hand in creating.
Let’s be clear about what our government’s spending habits, and the results of the 2009 Recovery Act (aka the “stimulus”) actually look like.
If you look at the chart on the right, provided by the Wall Street Journal you see that the current level of federal spending in this country has expanded less during the current administration than it has under any president over the past 60 years. Which is directly contradictory to the implied message behind many candidate’s claims.
As for the 2009 Recovery Act, it has been the target of tea-party conservatives since its inception, as the beacon of bad economic policy which has resulted in nothing but harm for the American people.
But once again, as laid out by both the chart on the left, as well as the one below (provided by the Center For American Progress), you’ll notice that since the stimulus both the job rate as well as American manufacturing have steadily increased. While we are not out of the recession yet, it is unfair to claim or insinuate that somehow the American economy is till spiraling downwards.
Whether the economic recovery going on in America today is on the right track, or if it is progressing more slowly than it should is up for debate, and legitimate discussion points for all political candidates. But we as Americans deserve a higher level of rhetoric than the single-point, emotion-driven, empty words we are now hearing on a daily basis.