By Michael Bryan
The Arizona Republic recently ran an excellent investigative peice highlighting the disconnect between Jesse Kelly's criticism of Obama's stimulus package and the more than $60 million in projects his family business worked on.
The Arizona Republic has found that since 2010, additional stimulus and government-funded projects, totaling at least $60.8 million, have gone to the company.
"When Kelly talks about cutting (government) spending, but his own family's company is profiting from that very spending, you have to scratch your head and wonder whether he really believes what he says," said Rodd McLeod, a spokesman for Barber. "If he's really against it, why is he in that business?"
The resultant buzz takes the form of wondering whether Kelly is being hypocritical when he's directly benefiting from the stimulus he criticized.
That totally misses the point.
Kelly responds that he and his dad's business would not have been aware of the source of the funding for the project. I happen to agree with Kelly.
The lesson here is that real profits and real jobs were created with those stimulus funds. Kelly's own business demonstrates that. And the fact that Kelly wasn't aware of the source of the funds demonstrates something more important: it didn't matter that the funds came from government. Businesses benefitted from the additional demand.
Kelly constantly harps on the theme that government does not create jobs and cannot address our current economic doldrums. Kelly's own experience contradicts that claim. He's just plain wrong that government spending is never a good thing for the economy.
That's the lesson of Kelly's $60 million in stimulus projects. The stimulus kept demand for Kelly's services strong in a difficult time. The stimulus kept Jesse Kelly employed. The stimulus worked.
And Kelly is just plain wrong in criticizing the stimulus, because he is the poster child for its success.