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Stimulus Debate

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 - 6:28pm

There’s been tons of debate surrounding President Obama’s economic stimulus plan. Even on the local level, leaders are at odds. Our David D’Aquin is tracking this story and has both sides of the debate.

Across the nation, and the state, support of the stimulus plan falls along party lines. Here in Louisiana, no one is debating the need for an economic boost. Business Report Editor J.R. Ball says there’s a need, but he wonders how it will all work out. “The question is, once you remove the EKG monitor, what’s going to sustain the economy?”

Chris Whittington heads up the Louisiana Democratic Party and says, hands down, the best plan is already on the table. “We’re in emergency times in Louisiana. It’s been 16 years since we lost this many jobs in Louisiana and 25 years nationwide. And in 2008, we essentially lost more jobs than the worst year ever in 1945.” Ball doesn’t question the motive for a stimulus, but says it could be just a short-term fix. “What is the economic driver of the future that is going to generate the king of growth to pay for the trillions and trillions of dollars we’re throwing at this current problem?”

Here in Louisiana, money from the plan would go to infrastructure like road and flood protection. Debate across the county, and even in Louisiana, Democrats say Republicans need to put party politics aside. “They’re making up buzz words. What are they going to do about the highest unemployment since 1945? They have no solutions; they’re not trying to do anything. They’re just complaining.”

But many Republicans say they just want to make sure the federal government is making the right move. A USA Today/Gallup poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly want Congress to pass the stimulus package, though about half of the people polled say they don’t think the stimulus will help their families.

Governor Bobby Jindal said if he were still a Congressman, he’d vote against the stimulus plan. Much of the money that would come to Louisiana is needed to finish important projects.