Rep. Cantor's Stimulus Hypocrisy

July 08, 2009 4:36 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Cantor says the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "did not" work, but he still wants stimulus funds for his home state.

As Steve Benen reported earlier this week, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has determined that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "did not" work.  Cantor apparently has no problem making that judgment, despite the fact that the most significant gains from the stimulus bill are expected to occur later this fall and into next year

Accordingly, Cantor has suggested that he's willing to work with President Obama on another stimulus package, "as long as it's like the tax cut-heavy package the GOP proposed earlier." He also wants to redirect funds from the original bill -- money that hasn't been spent, yet somehow already failed -- toward tax cuts for small businesses.  However, while Cantor is positive that the stimulus did not "generate results," he still supports stimulus spending in his home state of Virginia...because it would create jobs!

But Cantor doesn't want to nix all the spending from February's stimulus. He is trying to get stimulus money for a high-speed rail line from Washington, D.C., to Richmond, Va., a project he said could generate 185,000 jobs in Virginia, Roll Call reported. Even with his support for the rail line, Cantor said the larger stimulus package was a mistake.

"I don't see any inconsistency there," he said.

Cantor, like House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), is talking out of both sides of his mouth.  Both have prematurely condemned the stimulus package in Washington, while at the same time talking up its benefits at home. No inconsistency? The only thing that's consistent is Cantor's continued readiness to deliberately distort the truth.  

Nevertheless, with rumors of a third stimulus swirling (Bush's failed tax cuts being the first), Cantor's proposal should be addressed.  While many progressives have been saying since the beginning of the year that we need a bigger stimulus, we've already seen what kind of results (or lack thereof) Cantor's "ideas" would produce.  And to be clear, the same old conservative refrains about tax cuts don't actually qualify as ideas.  As Rep. Pat McHenry (R-NC) noted in May, "Marginal tax rates are the lowest they've been in generations, and all we can talk about is tax cuts...we're still stuck in our old issue set."