Why Utah Should Reject $1.7B Stimulus Money

Utah has, for the last several years, been one of the best fiscally managed states in the country. Accepting $1.7 billion of federal money to help fix what Utah has done a masterful job of taking care of on its own would precipitate a financial catastrophe. Utah should reject the so-called stimulus out of hand.

The computer project budget

Have no fear, though--the federal government is coming to the rescue. Yes, that federal government. The one that couldn't bail itself out of a wet paper bag, let alone anyone else.

for my company was slashed by 20% this year. Some of that was compensated for by sweeping funds forward from 2007 and 2008 that had not been used. There is none of that left now. This year, everything looks fine, but for 2010, all bets are off. Budget cuts are looming--unless we can get a government bailout.

Just kidding. A government bailout would be the worst thing that ever happened to my company. It would be the worst thing that could ever happen to Utah as well.

Utah currently has just over $414 million in its rainy-day fund. This is far better than most states in the union. Projections indicate that, without any cuts in the state budget, all of that an more will be needed to make up for shortfalls. In these

If we accept a handout from a federal government that can't afford to give it, we will most assuredly lose the skill that we have developed as a state--to budget wisely and live within our means.

austere times, legislators have been using austere measures to help ensure that we don't use up all of our rainy-day money.

Have no fear, though--the federal government is coming to the rescue. Yes, that federal government. The one that never met a deficit it didn't like. The same one that couldn't bail itself out of a wet paper bag, let alone anyone else. The Deseret News reports
Utah will get $1.7 billion and change from the federal stimulus spending of $878 billion, state legislators were told Thursday morning.

While some conservative legislators are wondering out loud if all of the funds should be accepted, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. says Utah will take every penny — it is all needed to avoid even deeper cuts in state programs and employee layoffs.

Documents handed out on the House and Senate floors show that over three years, Utah will get $1,731,494,511.

Most of that money, $1 billion, will come before July 1, during the current fiscal year.
The federal government

If Utah has the fortitude to tell the federal government to stick its $1.7 billion where the sun don't shine, we'll be a lot better off in the future.

doesn't have this money to give in the first place. We would do well to stop our avoidance/denial behavior when it comes to this fact. The platitudes about not spending our children's inheritance seem awfully hollow when we've now mortgaged our grandchildren's future and are beginning to destroy what might be left of their posterity.

What started out as localized infections in Massachusetts and California now threatens to infect the entire country as the various united states claim dependence on the federal teat without first stopping to think what kinds of addictions and slavery that will without question entail.

If Utah has the fortitude to tell the federal government to stick its $1.7 billion where the sun don't shine, we'll be a lot better off in the future. First of all, we'll have fewer impossible and freedom-destroying federal requirements around our necks than other states. But more importantly, we won't lose the skill that we have developed as a state--to budget wisely and live within our means.


  1. Frank balanced budgets and small deficits have nothing to do with stopping a recession from becoming a depression. In fact, focusing on balanced budgets at the wrong time can be a bigger blow to a shrinking economy. The deficit is frightening, now doubt, but we will be even longer getting out from underneath it if we don't turn our economy around first.

  2. I respect the premise your are arguing from, Frank, but doesn't the budget shortfall, greater than what we've amassed in the raining day fund, and the near necessity these "conservatives" find themselves perplexed by with the proposed federal funds mean that we have not, really, budgeted all that well?

    If we had, would there be a budget shortfall so large, the rainy day fund couldn't cover it (as that's really what the rainy day fund is for in the first place)?

    After we cash the federal check (I've got money riding on our doing so in Wendover right now), perhaps we should be realistic and address the flat tax and a few other problems we've never really justified perpetuating in Utah.

  3. I haven't heard any of you Mormon Right Wing Republicans whining about the billions of dollars that have gone to rebuild Iraq as a result of your pal George Bush's unnecessary and unjust war. These are dollars that will add to the debt passed on to our grand children as well and there are absolutely no benefits for the citizens of our state or our nation. Your hypocrisy and tunnel vision is unbelievable. I do agree with you on one thing and that is Utah Mormons are "Simple".

  4. John T obviously doesn't read your blog regularly, Frank. In fact, your earlier complaints over the expense / bad strategy of Iraq lend you more credibility for making an argument like the one you have made here than most of those up on the Hill trying to do the same thing.

    But I stand by my questions in the previous comment.

  5. Morgan,

    My entire premise disagrees with yours. We will be longer getting out from under the problems we have the longer we fail to realize how we got there and the more we think that stimuli from the government money tree will solve our problems. They will not. Economies are based on value, not on what we convince ourselves is valuable. The Federal Reserve and the federal government have convinced us for far too long that we can spend, spend, spend beyond our means. The only solution is to stop spending and to start saving. It's elementary, a stimulus will not work. When you understand that, ferreting out the truth of basic economics, as well as our perilous economic history will become much easier for you.

    John T,

    I'm glad you bring up the point, so that I can clarify it once again. (Jason, thank you for coming to my defense.) George W. Bush was as big a bozo as they come. I never voted for him, and if it were possible by the course of his actions--including those in Iraq--to feel more than 100% vindicated, I would.


    I answer your first question this way: since the national economy affects the state economies to a large degree, our state budget situation could have been much worse (like other states). That being said, I agree with you that we could have done a much better job. Gordon B. Hinckley talked about the coming economic crisis in LDS General conference in October 1998. The signs were very small then. But by 2000, with a vastly over-valued stock market it was easy to see the warning signs. With the housing bubble growing, it was easy to see at least no later than early 2005 that we were headed for a train wreck.

    I'm not sure what you mean about the flat tax...

  6. So it is better for more Utahn's to lose their homes, their jobs and their health insurance than to have the federal government return to the state some of it's own citizen's tax dollars to fund building schools and highways that will put people to work and benefit the state in the long run?

    This smack's of the tired worn out selfish Republican mantra of "I've got mine so screw everyone else".

    I guarantee your tune would be different if you were out of work and had lost your home as many in our state and across the nation have. It is easy to rest on your platitudes and principles when your stomach is full and there is a roof over your head.

    There is nothing wrong with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" helping those same people when they are in need. It's time you Selfish Self-centered Republican Idealogues figured this out.

  7. John T,

    It doesn't do you very well to look at it from such a myopic point of view. The problem started when government took too much from us in the first place. Now you're saying they should give it back. I've got news for you. They've got nothing to give back--unless national debt and deficits don't matter.

    They should have never taken it from us in the first place, and we'd all--including probably people who spent beyond their means--be better off.

    But that's not the main point. The main point is that your government doesn't give a rat's patoot about you or me. Your government and your Federal Reserve have put us down a fast river with no paddle and we're approaching a ten-thousand-foot waterfall. And you expect THEM to bail us out?


  8. There are hundreds of worthwhile programs that are administered by the Federal Government for the benefit of its citizens---Department of Defense, FDA, Center for Disease Control, Immigration, Medicare, Veteran's Hospitals, Food Stamps, Social Security, Forest Service to name a few. Which of these and others would you eliminate so your selfish ass can keep more money for YOU to spend on YOURSELF. I'll bet you gladly pay the 10% tax imposed on you by your multi-billion dollar corporation you call a church, or maybe you whine about that too. I wouldn't be calling someone else's view myopic if my head was as far up my ass as yours is. Your simple minded Republican cliches about big government are the same old tired rhetoric that turned the country to a new leadership. Your team lost Frankie. Suck it up and deal with it.

  9. John T,

    You have a very skillful flair for using the word "ass".

    I find it ironic that you support my government taxing me, but you don't support what you think is a tax on me by my church. I pay my more than just 10% to my church very willingly, and I have ample (you may think coincidental) proof that it has been well worth my economic while to have given charitably to my church.

    My ideas are not simple-minded Republicanism. Republicans have in general gone as far afield as have the Democrats. It started just before FDR, but FDR perfected the problem of government taking the place of and destroying the family and the community.

    Government, instead of causing our problems and then trying to solve them with what turn out to be more problems, needs to get on its bully pulpit and encourage Americans to be much more moral, religious, and charitable.

    Charity and community spirit are the only way that the problems we are having can really be solved. Stalin and Castro, among others, proved that government can't do it. The problem is that we've come to elect predominantly those who think that only government can solve the problem.

    ...big mistake!

  10. Ok Frank. When you turn 65 refuse medicare and social security. If you get sick just rely on charity and community spirit to help you pay for that expensive operation.

    You can stay in your Mormon La La Land with your rose colored glasses believing that the rest of the country is just like your upper income white LDS Republican Conservative neighborhood. It is you who have the myopic view. In reality you don't have a clue. I'm done here.

  11. John T/Gnostic/Anonymous,

    I already wrote here that if they'd stop taxing me for social security, I WOULDN'T ask for it in 20 years.

    In addition to using the word that rhymes with "donkey", you are good at casting hateful epithets that actually don't reflect reality.

    If you'd really like to know where I stand, I'd suggest you research the 400-500 articles on my blog here.


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