Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bobby Jindal (May Have) Just Ethered His Career.

A handful of Southern GOP Governors have been publicly rallying against taking Federal Stimulus funds, expressing the belief that such money is an example of Big Gubb'ment Gone Bad. It's a bit fishy to me that many of these guys, like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also have designs on 1600 Penn Ave. come 2012. Perhaps no politrician has been more vocal in his disgust than Louisiana Governor Kenneth Parcell Bobby Jindal.

Jindal has repeatedly noted that his main concern is that taking the money would mean the state would be on the hook for programs that it funds once the stimulus cash runs dry. I suppose that's a very wonky position to take, provided the programs he's speaking of are indeed trivial and pointless. Well, the details of what Jindal's turning the money away for have emerged, and all I gotta say is, this guy clearly doesn't care about 2012, or is a complete moron.
In a budget proposal released Friday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal indicated he is only rejecting $98 million of the federal stimulus funds due his state.

That figure is far less than the $700 million South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has indicated he may reject if the federal government does not allow Sanford to use that money to pay down his state's debt.

Jindal, an early GOP critic of the stimulus bill, is specifically rejecting funds aimed at expanding unemployment benefits on the belief his state would have to pick up the tab on the provision in two years.

In the budget proposal released Friday, Jindal emphasized the money he is accepting is temporary and a means to ultimately cutting spending.

"It is very important to understand…that federal stimulus funds are temporary funds. As such, they cannot be thought of as a permanent part of our state’s budget," he said Friday, adding, "Federal stimulus funds give us time to reform how the state runs so we can cut spending, ensure we are spending efficiently, and live within our means."

Jindal's announcement also comes a day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would reject the $555 million in federal funds direct to his state to expand unemployment benefits.
So lemme see if I got this correct. We're in the midst of a recession. Each month, another 600,000 people are handed pink slips. Lousiana's unemployment rate is a curiously low 5.1%. Folks need money to help tide them over. And Jindal has the wise idea of not accepting federal funds to help extend gubb'ment benefits for those without a job?

Even worse is South Carolina, where the unemployment rate is a staggering 10.4%. Texas' is 6.4%.

Are these guys outta their effin' minds?!?

The funny thing about all of this is that the state legislatures can overrule their Governors, so these stances are for little more than GP. And that's specifically why I know they're little more than political maneuvering for Perry, Sanford, and Jindal. If you need more proof, consider the fact that the Fed isn't mandating that the expansion of unemployment benefits be permanent. When the money runs dry in 2 years, the states could roll back the expansion in two years. Finally, the amount each of these guys are rejecting is a mere fraction of the total amount their states are receiving. Texas alone is getting $16 Billion dollars. The amount Perry turned away is barely 3% of that.


If the economy worsens, these guys can all say they were the sole voices of reason in an orgy of spending. If the economy improves, Obama won't have a serious challenger in 4 years anyway. These guys will simply fall back and wait their turns in 2016. Interestingly, by turning down less money, Jindal could prolly spin this to his advantage, as his future competitors look a lot more overzealous.

The nagging issue here is obvious, however. Each of these men need to be re-elected Governor at some point in the future. Jindal is actually up in 2011. Call me crazy, but if you're trying to launch a national campaign, it would sorta help to still have a Day Job, lest you look like some discarded loser. And that's why this gamble is so stoopid.

Question: Is this "reject the stimulus" gamble a stroke of genius by these GOP Governors or the most egregious form of politricks as usual?

Jindal to reject $98 million, less than Sanford, Perry [CNN]

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