Behold, the ‘No Cost Stimulus’

BEHOLD, THE ‘NO COST STIMULUS’…. If you missed last night’s episode of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, you missed a fascinating “discussion” between Hannity, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). As the Fox News personality explained, Shadegg and Vitter have come up with a “stimulus” plan that costs “zero dollars,” and “promises to create two million new jobs without any of your money.”

Shadegg explained this visionary approach to economic growth:

“With unemployment rates going up how can we produce American jobs? And the answer is we have had a non-energy policy in this country for a very long time. The reality is we are giving jobs to oil fieldworkers and natural gas fieldworkers in Russia and Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, when we should be putting those people to work here in the United States.

“Now Senator Vitter and I have drafted a bill that says let’s put Americans to work, let’s pursue the fight we had last summer of an all of the above energy strategy, let’s clear the bureaucracy out of the way, and let’s move forward with American jobs, producing American energy…. And we can also reduce the absurd regulations that go way too far.”

And from there, the three of them spent the rest of the interview trying to undermine confidence in the economy, bashing Nancy Pelosi, and questioning the concept of economic stimulus.

It was one of those odd interviews in which members of Congress present a “plan” without actually talking about — or even hearing any questions on — what the “plan” is.

Apparently, Shadegg and Vitter, two of Congress’ most right-wing members, believe they can address the severe, global economic downturn and create 2 million jobs by opening up additional coastal areas for oil drilling and stripping oil companies of federal regulations. This is their “stimulus” plan. They’re so proud of it, they went on national television to boast about their ingenuity.

I’m reminded of something Matt Yglesias said the other day that bears repeating:

Something I think most liberals don’t understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are. There is, yes, a condescending tendency to believe that no smart person could be on the right ideologically at all. That’s dead wrong. There are plenty of bright people on the right. But the way their movement works, intelligence or understanding of politics and policy has no meaningful role in advancement. If anything, there’s something of a negative correlation between knowing what you’re talking about and being able to get ahead in right-wing politics.

Matt was referring to another far-right lawmaker promoting “Atlas Shrugged,” but it’s a sentiment with broad applicability.