Bobby Jindal: Preferential Option for Big Business

Bobby Jindal: Preferential Option for Big Business February 21, 2009

The governor of Louisiana is turning down part of the stimulus relating to expanded unemployment benefits on the grounds that it could ultimately lead to a tax increase on state businesses. Funnily enough, by Jindal’s own estimate, the stimulus could have funded the expansion in unemployment benefits for three years, after which the state could (if it wished) phase out the program. But Jindal does not even want to even hint at being out of snych with business interests. As Steve Benen notes, “Jindal’s position is he’d rather limit unemployed assistance now than worry about a possible tax increase on businesses three years from now.” Remember, this is the man often touted as the future of the Republican party. He’s also a Catholic. Unfortunately, rather than represent the future, he’s firmly wedded to the tired old Hoover-Reagan approach to economics, and does not seem to be guided at all by a preferential option for the poor.

Update: I had this as a comment, but it’s worth adding to the main post, for it exposes the fact that Bobby Jindal (by all accounts a smart fellow) is under the firm sway of Reaganist witchcraft. It comes from Time’s Joe Klein:

Jindal–who seems to be running for President–trotted out the standard Republican boilerplate about the need for a package with more tax cuts, especially in the capital gains tax. David Gregory pointed out that we’d just had eight years of that philosophy, and it hadn’t done very much to help  job creation or median incomes. Jindal resorted to the Republican fantasy playbook–to the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts, which allegedly helped boost the economy. (Actually, it was the Carter-Volcker monetary reforms that set the economy on a more stable path for growth in the early 1980s.) Needless to say, Jindal didn’t mention either the Reagan tax increases (proportionately the largest in U.S. history) or the slightly smaller Clinton increases, which led to the lowering of interest rates and the economic boom of the 1990’s. Nor did he mention the 30 years of neglect the nation’s infrastructure has suffered during the Reagan era–not just the neglect of roads and bridges and levees, but also of the sorts of high-tech and green  infrastructure programs (including mass transit and high-speed rail) that will lay the basis for a more efficient economy in the future.

In other words, Jindal–the alleged voice of the GOP future–had absolutely nothing new to say. And what he did say, about the stimulus, was purposefully misleading. I’m not sure how well the Obama stimulus, banking and budget plans will work. No one does. But I do know how the philosophy and the misleading politics that Jindal offered today has worked in the recent past.

It turns out that Jindal also complains about funding high-speed rail and the governor of South Carolina is turning down money for “green buildings”. Great.


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