By Brian Beutler TPM
One of the major themes of last week was the degree to which Republicans in Congress were deceptively referring to Defense Secretary Robert Gates' budget proposal as a weak-on-defense spending cut. The corollary to that claim--articulated by many Republicans, but also some Democrats--is that defense spending "cuts" will cost jobs. The problem is, though, that most of the people making that argument voted against the stimulus bill this past winter.
Last week we caught Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in just such a contradiction. During the debate over the stimulus, Chambliss lashed out at the specter of government recession spending, calling it a "bloated government giveaway." But then, he called into the NPR program Talk of the Nation and said none of that matters as long as the spending is defense spending.
"[W]hen it comes to stimulating the economy," Chambliss said, there's no better way to do it than to spend it in the defense community."
On Sunday, Paul Krugman appeared on ABC's This Week, and picked up on the same thing, and called out Congressional Republicans for what one might call the "Chambliss hypocrisy". Here's Krugman:
What's so wonderful is watching Republican congressmen saying, "But this will cost jobs!" The very same Republican congressmen who were denouncing the stimulus, saying government spending never creates jobs, but cutting defense spending costs jobs. It's wonderful.
What Krugman doesn't note (because the panel covered it earlier in the show) is that these Congressional Republicans are basing their argument on spending cuts that don't exist. Funny, that. We'll be rounding up examples of this as we find them, from both Republicans and, perhaps, some anti-stimulus Democrats.