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Right-wing Budget Hypocrisy: Taking Recovery Funds, Denouncing Deficits and Promoting Costly Tax Cuts

Right-wing officials have consistently expressed opposition to the federal recovery effort, even as they take credit for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (ARRA) impact on economic growth.

In the past few months, conservative governors who routinely criticize the federal government's state fiscal relief and job creation efforts, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, heavily relied on recovery funds to balance steep shortfalls in their respective state budgets and touted projects that were only made possible by the Recovery Act.

Perhaps the most notorious recent example is South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.  Sanford previously likened the Recovery Act to "slavery" and filed a bogus lawsuit to prevent South Carolina from using ARRA funds, but signed legislation in June to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits in order to access $97.5 million in federal spending to support ailing unemployment insurance funds.

Right-wing Senators and Congressional members harped on inflated short-term deficit concerns to oppose the recent extension of aid for Americans out of work and the approval of critical support for teacher jobs.  Yet, conservatives continue to promote the extension of the economically unsound Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  As the Pew Economic Policy Initiative notes, financing the extension of these Bush-era tax cuts would cost $3.1 trillion over the next ten years.  On top of that, these tax reductions do not stimulate the economy -- in fact, one federal dollar spent on Bush tax cuts results in only 29 cents in market activity, according to estimates by Moody's. 

Alternatively, progressive actions such as increased infrastructure spending, providing aid to state governments, and extending unemployment benefits all yield considerably higher returns and have consistently proven to be significant catalyst of national economic growth.

The hypocrisy of right-wing officials is indicative of the their misleading rhetoric and the hollowness of their failed economic and fiscal policies.