Email # 141: “prime the pump”?

In September 2008, you voted against a $60 billion stimulus package that included major transportation infrastructure spending. This was during the Bush administration’s final months as the U.S. economy was plunging further into a historic recession.

In January 2009, you voted against a $825 billion for economic recovery package that also included major infrastructure spending.  This was President Obama’s first month in office, as the economy continued to spiral into its worse state since the Great Depression.

Six months later, you once again voted against an additional $192 billion anti-recession stimulus spending bill, despite the continuing economic troubles.

Clearly you do not believe in stimulus packages, no matter how dire the economic situation. Gladly, the U.S. economy recovered from its 19-month recession, and current economic indicators promise continuing growth. And yet President Trump claims he has inherited an economic “mess” and has promised a $1 trillion stimulus package for transportation infrastructure spending. He said:

“We’re also going to prime the pump. You know what I mean by ‘prime the pump’? In order to get this going, and going big league, and having the jobs coming in and the taxes that will be cut very substantially and the regulations that’ll be going, we’re going to have to prime the pump to some extent. In other words: Spend money to make a lot more money in the future. And that’ll happen.”

Given your adamant opposition to President Obama’s infrastructure spending bills, I assume you will also reject President Trump’s. This seems especially obvious since Obama was responding to an economy a year into recession and our current economy has seen several years of continuous growth.

Why then haven’t you already spoken out against the President’s call for such an unnecessary and massive stimulus package? He says it’s going to be the biggest infrastructure spending since the Eisenhower administration’s highway-building plan. Shouldn’t he be told that his plan has no chance of passing a House filled with GOP deficit hawks such as yourself?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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