One of the criticisms of Barack Obama’s stimulus plan by the Republicans is that money is being spent on programs that do not appear on their face to be of any real value.
For example, Bobby Jindal, the 37-year-old Republican governor of Louisiana, stated in his response to President Obama’s speech Tuesday that $150 million of the $800 billion stimulus money is going for research on volcanoes.
We’re not sure why Gov. Jindal would cite this as wasteful. He may be too young to remember that Mt. St. Helens, which had been dormant for 130 years, caused a billion dollars in damage and killed 57 persons when it erupted in 1980.
There are other dormant volcanoes in our nation that have the same capacity for damage. Only a fool would think it foolish for us to study them so we will be better able to deal with such natural disasters in the future.
But Gov. Jindal also misses this point – unemployed scientists also are worthy of being given stimulus money to put them to work, no less so than teachers, police officers, construction workers, and so on.
A job is a job is a job. Getting people off the unemployment line is what the stimulus plan is all about so that they can pay their bills and stimulate the economy. It is clear that the Republicans are looking to the 2010 elections with the hope that the economy will not improve and they can say, “We told you so.” They are looking for a repeat of the Newt Gingrich revolution that came amidst the first term of Bill Clinton.
However, a more appropriate historical analogy is the Great Depression and the 1934 midterm elections. People were not fooled by the Republicans’ obstructionism to Franklin Roosevelt then, and they won’t be now.