Cantor on the Stimulus

Marc Ambinder sat down with Republican Whip Eric Cantor who, after disappointing some conservatives by backing the stimulus package in the fall, is coming out swinging against the even bigger boondoggle in the House. Cantor’s profile has arguably been higher than that of Majority Leader Bohener over the last few days. A highlight:

If you could wave your magic wand and make two changes to the bill that would make it much more palatable to Republicans. What would they be?

I think first of all you have to focus spending on actual stimulus. You’ve got CBO saying that  only 25 percent goes out in the first year. You’ve got to have some type of ability to provide that jobs will be created or maintained because of the government spending. Listen, this is all borrowed money. That is an added burden you have to overcome in order to justify the government spending the money, not the private sector. Number 2, you’d have some meaningful tax relief for small business. There’s a lot of discussion about the NOL provisions – net operating losses – which are good. That will help save jobs. There’s a lot of discussion and support for accelerated depreciation. That’s great because that will help spur big business to purchase assets. But that provision itself really kicks in when you purchase [something] over $850,000. What about the real small business person? There is only 41 million dollars allocated toward the relief for small business and small business expensing. That’s where we start to look. For every one dollar you allocate for small business tax relief, you’re spending four dollars to replace the grass here in Washington.

The grass provision has been taken out since the interview, but the point holds.

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