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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Year Later: The $862 Billon Stimulus Bill Still Sucks!

One year ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Democrats’ $787 billion stimulus bill into law. Well, actually, it costs $862 billion, since the Congressional Budget Office revised its estimates last month. The cost surpasses $1 trillion when interest payments on the debt taken out to pay for the legislation are included.

When the bill was signed, the administration made expansive promises of its effects. Christina Romer, chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors made a representative claim, saying on Feb. 12, 2009, “From the very beginning, the president has said as his goal that he wanted to be sure it created between three and four million jobs. And we absolutely think it’s going to do that.” Vice President Joe Biden said within 18 months, the bill would “create 3.5 million jobs.” Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said, “Yeah, the plan will create 3 million to 4 million jobs . . . .” And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters, “This bill creates 3.5 million jobs.”

But even the most optimistic job estimates from the administration claim they’ve created 2 million jobs, as Joe Biden does in an op-ed for USA Today. Of course, these numbers are questionable, given extensive reporting on the Obama administration overstating the number of jobs the stimulus created. Indeed, back in October, the AP found “[a]n early progress report on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan overstate[d] by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program.” And ABC News famously discovered that the administration was reporting stimulus money was creating jobs in nonexistent congressional districts and zip codes.

Another key promise from the Obama administration last year was that the stimulus bill would hold down unemployment. Romer famously produced a graph showing that with a stimulus bill, unemployment would not exceed 8% and would be around 7.6% today. Last year, President Obama wrote, “If nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits.” And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS, “[T]he economic team believes that this bill will help us stay away from those double-digit economic unemployment numbers.”

Yet for much of the fall, unemployment was 10%. And unemployment today stands at 9.7%, not 7.6%.

Further, new reports continually crop up of stimulus money failing to reach those places where it’s needed most. Back in October, The New York Times reported, “Businesses with federal stimulus contracts have created few jobs in states with the worst unemployment rates, according to data released Thursday by the federal government.”

On top of that, throughout the year, reports surfaced of stimulus dollars financing dubious and even wasteful projects. A list of just 15 of the worst includes things like $390,000 to study malt liquor and marijuana consumption, $219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen, $3.4 million for a turtle tunnel in Florida, $54 million in stimulus funds used for the Napa Valley Wine Train, and $30 million for a spring training baseball complex for Major League teams.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell summed up the problems, saying this morning, “In the first year of the trillion-dollar stimulus, Americans have lost millions of jobs, the unemployment rate continues to hover near 10%, the deficit continues to soar and we’re inundated with stories of waste, fraud and abuse. This was not the plan Americans asked for or the results they were promised.”

 Representative Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, summarized the opinion of House Republicans,"One year later, one thing is clear: the stimulus bill has failed. One year later, not one net job has been created as unemployment rose from 7.6 percent to nearly 10 percent nationwide. Mr. President, millions of Americans are asking, 'where are the jobs?' It is time for Washington to take a new approach to get this economy moving again based on time-honored solutions: fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C. and immediate tax relief for working families, small businesses and family farms. Let's put American families first, set aside the big government schemes on health care and energy and take decisive action to get this economy growing again."

Given everything Americans have seen about the stimulus bill over the past year, it’s little wonder that last week’s New York Times/CBS News poll found that only 6% of Americans think stimulus bill has created jobs. And for the first time, more people now believe that the stimulus hasn’t—and won’t—create jobs, than believe it has or ever will.

The stimulus has failed to live up to the promises Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration made when they sold it to Americans a year ago, and the public has clearly recognized this. When the administration makes promises about its policies on health care and energy taxes, Americans would do well to keep the results of the stimulus in mind.  In Summary: One Year Later: the $862 Billion Stimulus Bill Still Sucks!

Tags: Joe Biden, Obama administration, stimulus bill, unemployment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:00 AM - Post Link


Anonymous Rick Crawford said...

As your next Congressman I will cut taxes so you can keep more of your own money. I will also cut wasteful government spending and oppose all government bailouts.

Washington is broken and I'm not going to be told how to fix it by the same people that got us in to this mess.

As your next Congressman, I will not be a part of this destructive political culture of Washington, I'll be be a representative for the people, not the lobbyists of K Street or the bankers on Wall Street.

Rick Crawford for Congress (Arkansas, First District

Anonymous Doyle Webb said...

One year after Senator Blanche Lincoln eagerly voted yes for the stimulus package, 24,000 more Arkansans have lost their jobs, and I’m not sure if we can afford another piece of irresponsible legislation that pushes our nation deeper into debt and fails to create much needed jobs.

Doyle Webb
Chairman, Republican Party of Arkansas

Anonymous Orrin Hatch said...

In its first year, the trillion-dollar stimulus has been nothing less than a profound disappointment costing tens of billions more than estimated. The American people were promised that it would stop the unemployment rate from going over 8 percent, that 90 percent of the jobs created would be in the private sector and that it would jump start our economy immediately. Regrettably, none of those things has turned out to be true. Giving Utahns and Americans their hard-earned money back through tax relief to make choices for themselves is a much better way to turn our economy around – not another big-government Washington solution that adds to our already sky-high debt.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

Anonymous Gary Bauer said...

While the administration celebrates this colossal failure, the American people know better. Last week, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that six percent of Americans thought the stimulus bill had created jobs. And, no, that’s not a typo – just six in one hundred Americans believe the $787 billion bill did what it was supposed to do.

Instead of doing a victory lap around the country on the taxpayers’ dime, Obama and Biden ought to be apologizing for the biggest boondoggle in history. Instead, they are having a Marie Antoinette moment – while millions of Americans have lost their jobs, Obama is spending their money to create jobs overseas and grow the government. Now he wants to tell us what a great deal this has been!

I know there are some signs of growth and improved economic activity -- “green shoots,” as economists like to call them. This is not proof that “Obamanomics” works. No matter how badly Washington wastes your money, our economy remains very vibrant. There are millions of entrepreneurs and hard working men and women who get up every day, go to work and do their best for their families. They invest, they work hard and they succeed in spite of government, not because of it. Sadly, that is a lesson that Washington liberals seem incapable of learning.

Gary Bauer,
Chairman, Campaign for American Families

Anonymous John Boozman said...

The 'stimulus' failed to achieve the job growth advertised and it also robs our kids and our grandkids of prosperity because of the tremendous cost. Like you, I know we can’t borrow and spend our way to prosperity. Unfortunately, the Administration hasn’t gotten this message.

Rep. John Boozman
Arkansas 3rd District


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