Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

You’re gonna miss it when it’s gone

So long, stimulus dollars. You were nice while you lasted.

Texas’ $16.4 billion share of federal stimulus money winds down next year, a fading boon that will affect Houston jobs and research from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

While Republicans have argued that the Obama administration’s emergency spending plan cost too much to create too few jobs, it did result in hundreds of thousands of jobs across the nation that will need other money to continue or face extinction over the next six months.

But the short-term difficulties of extending 2,184 federally subsidized jobs across Harris County pale against the wider challenges ahead as Texas’ state and local governments brace for even deeper cutbacks and as the White House and Congress work to trim the deficit and national debt.

And with politically conservative gains in the midterm elections, it’s likely that the loss of government-funded jobs is just beginning, both nationally and in Texas.

Yes, because throwing people out of work is so much better policy than incurring short-term debt at a time of record low interest rates.

I’ve been wondering lately how the last two years would have played out politically if the federal government hadn’t provided all those billions to help balance Texas’ budget in 2009. It’s hard to be objective about “what if” scenarios when you’ve just suffered a huge loss, but I have to believe that things would have been different. I’m just not sure how, and even with the result we had, I’m not sure that piling all the cuts and layoffs we’re sure to get now on top of the economy as it was in 2009 would have been worth the potential electoral mitigation. If the Democrats can’t make the Republicans own what they’re about to do in Austin, they can’t do anything.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.