Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Stimulus Day or Celebrating Failure

Today is the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the $787 billion stimulus bill, and the administration is putting on a hard sell for the American people. There will be a White House reception today to mark the anniversary. Later this week, Vice President Joe Biden and various cabinet secretaries will fan out across the country to host dozens of rallies touting the stimulus package’s success.

Exactly what are they celebrating?

• President Obama told the American people that Congress had to pass the Democrat stimulus bill in order to keep unemployment from rising above 8%. After hundreds of billions of dollars were spent, unemployment hit 10% last year and remains near that figure today. On the most critical measurement of success laid down by the president, the bill is an abject failure.

• In promoting the stimulus, President Obama promised us that the funds would be spent on timely, “shovel ready” projects. In spite of the financial emergency that necessitated the biggest spending bill in American history, if not world history, just one third of the stimulus funds have been spent. So much for “shovel ready.” More than 2.5 million Americans lost their jobs last year, while most of the stimulus money intended to “save or create” jobs went unspent.

• President Obama promised us that the stimulus funds would not be wasted, and he named Vice President Biden “stimulus czar.” We now know hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars were spent to create jobs overseas. We learned that thousands of jobs were created in places that don’t exist.

President Obama promised that 90% of the stimulus jobs would be created in the private sector. An analysis by the New York Times found “the data suggests that well over half of the jobs claimed so far have been in the public sector.”

But, wait – there’s more. USA Today reports that billions of stimulus dollars are being spent on programs so inefficient or redundant that even Barack Obama wants to cut or eliminate them!

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!

Gary Bauer

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