Bobby Jindal’s Stimulus Lies

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Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, gave the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress Tuesday night. I’ll leave the analysis of how Jindal did to David Corn, but it’s important to note that Jindal repeated two fairly common Republican lies about the stimulus package. Here’s the relevant portion:

[The stimulus includes] $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called “volcano monitoring”.

The truth is that the stimulus bill does not allocate any high speed rail money for specific projects. In fact, any stimulus money for high speed rail would be allocated by Obama transportation secretary Ray Lahood—a Republican.

The ‘volcano monitoring’ part is almost as misleading. According to ProPublica, the relevant portion of the stimulus money is for “U.S. Geological Survey facilities and equipment, including stream gages, seismic and volcano monitoring systems and national map activities.” It seems obvious that employing geologists, building facilities, buying equipment, and paying people to map the country all have a stimulative effect. But more importantly, why does Bobby Jindal think monitoring volcanoes is a bad thing for the government to be doing? There doesn’t seem to be any immediate way for private enterprise to profit from monitoring volcanoes (maybe selling volcano insurance?), but there is obviously a huge public benefit from making sure volcanoes are monitored: warning people if a volcano is going to erupt. Isn’t that obvious?

Apparently not to Bobby Jindal. But, of course, Bobby Jindal is the person who just tried to tell the nation that the problem with the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was that bureaucrats demanded that people have proof of insurance and registration. It wasn’t.

(There’s no money in the stimulus to save the San Francisco salt marsh mouse, either.)

UPDATE: You want a cool video on maglev trains? You got a cool video on maglev trains.

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