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It’s Not Just Blue States That Will Drop Dead if McConnell Gets His Way


Krugman’s column about McConnell obstructing desperately needed aid to state and local governments is excellent, but this is particularly telling:

On Wednesday, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, declared that he is opposed to any further federal aid to beleaguered state and local governments, and suggested that states declare bankruptcy instead. Lest anyone accuse McConnell of being even slightly nonpartisan, his office distributed two memos referring to proposals for state aid as “blue state bailouts.”


This is, as I said, stupid on multiple levels. For one thing, states don’t even have the legal right to declare bankruptcy; even if they somehow managed all the same to default on their relatively small debts, it would do little to alleviate their financial distress — although it could cause a national financial crisis.

Oh, and the idea that this is specifically a blue state problem is ludicrous. Fiscal crises are looming all across America, from Florida to Kansas to Texas — hit especially hard by crashing oil prices — to, yes, McConnell’s home state, Kentucky.

And if states and local governments are forced into sharp budget cuts, the effect will be to deepen the economic slump — which would be bad for Donald Trump and could cost Republicans the Senate.

McConnell thinking that states running out of money and being denied aid can somehow be targeted to “blue states” is one of the many cases during this pandemic of Republicans harming both themselves and the country by being high on their own supply. States that rely on sales taxes for revenue and extraction for both tax revenue and their economic life are particularly screwed, and these states are disproportionately red. And the devastating effects of draconian state cuts will ultimately hang on the president (and, hence, incumbent Republican senators) irrespective of any attempt to shift blame. But McConnell sincerely believes that this a problem of blue states providing excessively generous pensions, and it’s not clear if anyone can talk him out of it before things go completely sideways.

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