$1 million per job
The $787 billion stimulus package Democrats forced on us in February has been a failure and, based on recent news of fraud, borders on disaster.
For most Americans, it’s hard to notice that the government took $787 billion to “stimulate” the economy at the beginning of the year. It’s hard to see the “stimulation” going on when the unemployment rate has now risen to 9.5 percent. Some would argue that we need to give the stimulus package time, but that’s not a good argument. We were told in February by National Economic Director Larry Summers that, “You’ll see the effects begin almost immediately.” Nine months later, the only effects I’m seeing are rising debt and unemployment.
It raises the question: Where would our country be, had our government not gone on a spending spree? Well, how about we go by what Barack Obama told us would happen.
When the Obama administration was trying to gather support for its stimulus package back in January, there was a report published by members of the administration entitled, “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” The report was intended to show whether or not a stimulus package would be necessary in order to solve the country’s economic problems. It included data that indicated what the administration believed the unemployment rate would be if no stimulus package was created, and what would happen if the proposed stimulus was passed.
The report concluded that without a stimulus package the United States would see its unemployment raise to 8.5 percent in 2009 and would peak at 9 percent during 2010. But it also concluded that if the stimulus was passed the unemployment rate would peak at no more then 8 percent in 2009. This information was one of the primary reasons Democrats were insistent on rushing the stimulus at the beginning of the year. They told us the stimulus needed to be passed immediately in order to avoid the dreadful projections from the report. President Obama said that the stimulus would, “go directly to… generating three to four million new jobs.” It was either stimulus or nothing. That’s what our government argued on Capitol Hill. Imagine an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent. Democrats weren’t about to do nothing.
Now, here we are in November and the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent. That is 0.5 percent higher than the Obama administration projected unemployment would peak at if the government did nothing. I think we would have been better off using market-based solutions to help the economy recover rather then spend $787 billion we don’t have.
One argument Democrats are now giving in defense of their stimulus is that no one knew how bad this recession was. Really? Wasn’t it Obama and his supporters who were telling us all through the campaign that this was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? It sounds like they thought this was the biggest disaster of all time and now they are trying to tell us they didn’t think it would be this bad. Who are these guys fooling?
Don’t forget the jobs saved argument either. Obama told us that we’d save three to four million jobs. Well, according to the infamous Recovery.gov website, which is intended to allow Americans to track the money spent in the stimulus package, all that money has only created/saved 640,329 jobs thus far. For those who like numbers, that translates to $1,229,055.69 per job created or saved. How efficient.
Unfortunately, though, as it turns out, the true number of jobs created or saved is not actually 640,329. As has been reported by many local newspapers that have been investigating the stimulus being put into action, the number of jobs that have been reported saved/created by Recovery.gov is significantly off. According to those papers, approximately 75,000 jobs included in that 640,329 total haven’t really been created or saved. Whn asked about this, Obama said that this bogus job creation was a “side issue.”
A side issue? I thought transparency was one of the focal points of Obama’s campaign last fall. Now we find that all this alleged transparency involved with the stimulus is anything but and it’s now a side issue? This constant hypocrisy is growing tiresome.
The stimulus package, like most other government programs, is failing to accomplish any of its goals. The jobs the administration said were going to be saved haven’t been saved and unemployment has risen to a level beyond what we were told was tolerable in February. Often times, we were told by Democrats that, “we can’t do nothing.” But since doing nothing was never an option put on the table by anyone, I think it could have been a good one. Looking back now, I would rather we had done nothing, saved $787 billion and had unemployment peak at 9 percent than be in the mess we find ourselves now. The fictional “party of no” seems like it would be the smartest party on Capitol Hill at this point.
Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.