It should come as no surprise to find out that Paul Ryan, like almost every other Republican in Congress, says one thing but did another when it came to stimulus money projects. The problem is, he spent several days denying ever having done so:
As recently as Wednesday in Ohio, Mitt Romney’s running mate told ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, he did not.
“I never asked for stimulus,” Ryan said. “I don’t recall… so I really can’t comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn’t work, it didn’t work.”
Two years ago, during an interview on WBZ’s NewsRadio he was asked by a caller if he “accepted any money” into his district. Ryan said he did not.
“I’m not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money,” the congressman answered.
Actually, you are.
In 2009, as Rep. Paul D. Ryan was railing against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package as a “wasteful spending spree,” he wrote at least four letters to Obama’s secretary of energy asking that millions of dollars from the program be granted to a pair of Wisconsin conservation groups, according to documents obtained by the Globe.
The advocacy appeared to pay off; both groups were awarded the economic recovery funds — one receiving a $20 million grant to help thousands of local businesses and homes improve their energy efficiency, agency documents show…
Ryan’s campaign spokesman, Brendan Buck, on Monday declined to comment, pointing the Globe to the statement from Ryan’s Capitol Hill spokesman at the time of the Wall Street Journal article in 2010.
“If Congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin entity applying for existing federal grant funds, he does not believe flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job and providing a legitimate constituent service to his employers,” the spokesman said. The Romney campaign did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
But that misses the point entirely. Of course he should help get federal grants for his constituents. But he did so on the grounds that the money for those projects would help create jobs in his district, while simultaneously, and continuously, claiming that such spending did not create jobs nationally. Virtually every Republican in Congress did the same thing. They apparently want people to believe that they represent a magical place where stimulus spending creates jobs, but that similar spending on projects in any other district or state mysteriously do not create any jobs. That’s convenient, but clearly ridiculous.
The other great irony here is this: $288 billion of the stimulus package was spent on tax cuts — you know, the thing that Ryan swears is the best way to stimulate the economy. About the same amount was spent on infrastructure projects. So apparently tax cuts stimulate the economy when Republicans come up with the idea but not when Democrats do. And infrastructure projects favored by Democratic presidents are apparently so magical that roads and bridges get almost $300 billion worth of work done on them without employing a single person to do that work.