What the Heck Was the $862 Billion For, Then?

It’s not like they haven’t tried this before.

Back when the president and his party was scrambling to pass the failed $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, if you asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the so-called “stimulus” bill was about four things: jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs, and without it, 500 million Americans were losing their jobs each and every month.  If you asked Vice President Joe Biden, the bill was about his “favorite three-letter word: J-O-B-S.”  The president himself assured the American public that so long as his stimulus bill was passed, the unemployment rate would not exceed eight percent (it’s now at 9.6 percent).

Then, in December 2009, the Democrats insisted that they needed another $130 billion or so.  President Obama insisted that the stimulus bill was about stimulating the economy, and that a separate measure was needed to create jobs. He feigned anger for his base and warned Republicans to “stop trying to frighten the American people” and get out of the way. Thankfully, because of a unified Republican front and because of a brave Ben Nelson, the bill failed.  The rabid lefties over at FireDogLake said that the GOP and Nelson “succeeded in destroying [the] lives of millions.”  Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow–a Democrat, how shocking–essentially argued that the GOP was trying to tank the American economy for political gain.

Now, the president is calling for another $50 billion bill as the first part of several so-called “investments” over the next six years into various infrastructure projects.  From the Associated Press:

The infrastructure investments are one part of a package of targeted proposals the White House is expected to announce in hopes of jump-starting the economy ahead of the November election. Obama will outline the infrastructure proposal Monday at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee.

While the proposal calls for investments over six years, the White House said spending would be front-loaded with an initial $50 billion to help create jobs in the near future.

The goals of the infrastructure plan include: rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads; constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of railways, enough to go coast-to-coast; and rehabilitating or reconstructing 150 miles of airport runways, while also installing a new air navigation system designed to reduce travel times and delays.

Surprisingly, the Associated Press actually acknowledges that infrastructure improvements were a “central part” of the stimulus bill passed in early 2009.  The funny part is that the AP, in parroting the White House talking points, actually sets out evidence showing that the administration’s faith in government stimulus was destined to fail from the get-go.

“[W]ith that spending winding down,” the AP piece reads, “the economy’s growth has slowed.”

Of course it has!  Almost every time we see new GDP numbers, a few weeks later the already disappointing numbers are revised downwards.  And, frankly, the only reason those paltry numbers are what they are is because of the influx of government spending.  Now that the spending is winding down, the artificially inflated GDP numbers are as well. (In fact, more and more, folks are looking for something other than GDP to accurately denote economic well-being, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

It’s the same thing as the jobs bill:  We need to spend more of your money.  There are shovel-ready jobs this time, we promise.  These projects will create jobs.  Without spending your money, the economy will never recover.

We’ve heard it before.

Furthermore, even if a given infrastructure project is “shovel-ready,” such projects do very little to provide the private sector with the short- and long-term boost needed to bring the American economy out of the doldrums.  In fact, while roughly $175 billion of the original $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was to be spent on so-called “shovel-ready projects,” the federal government failed to take the necessary steps to prevent many of the jobs that were to be created from going to illegal immigrants. From a March 2009 report from USA Today:

Studies by two conservative think tanks estimate immigrants in the United States illegally could take 300,000 construction jobs, or 15% of the 2 million jobs that new taxpayer-financed projects are predicted to create.

They fault Congress for failing to require that employers certify legal immigration status of workers before hiring by using a Department of Homeland Security program called E-Verify. The program allows employers to check the validity of Social Security numbers provided by new hires. It is available to employers on a voluntary basis.

“They could have deterred this, but they chose not to,” said Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.

He said a federal requirement that employers use E-Verify would have reduced, if not eliminated, the hiring of immigrants in this country illegally.

An advocacy group for immigrants, illegal and legal, did not disagree with the 300,000 estimate. Camarota says the estimate is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and other independent findings that 15% of all construction workers in the USA are either illegal immigrants or lack the status of legal immigrant authorized to work.

And then there were issues like those seen in Oregon, where many of the so-called “shovel-ready projects” just weren’t shovel-ready at all.  Similar stories could be found throughout America, with maybe my favorite leading off a March 2009 piece in The Wall Street Journal:

On a warm afternoon last month, a week before the stimulus bill became law, Vice President Joseph Biden strolled out onto a narrow, 79-year-old bridge over the Conodoguinet Creek. He poked his shoe through a hole in a rotting girder, tore off a piece of rusty metal, and examined a crack in the concrete deck.

“Is this a shovel-ready project?” Mr. Biden asked Scott Christie, the state transportation official charged with deploying economic-stimulus money.

“It’s ready to go,” Mr. Christie answered. “I literally have the plans in the car right now.”

It turns out, though, that shovel-readiness is in the eye of the beholder. Soon after his visit, Mr. Biden found out that his model stimulus project wouldn’t see a shovel for almost four more months, possibly longer, knowing how such timetables slip. In North Middleton, a White House eager for action had run up against locals eager to avoid disruption. The locals won.

In fact, back in December 2009 while pushing for that separate jobs bill, President Obama argued that there were more shovel-ready infrastructure projects at that time than there were nine months before when the stimulus bill was signed.  Essentially, he admitted that the whole thing wasn’t about shovel-ready projects in the first place.  But who’s counting, anyway?

And this time, according to the president, it’s even paid for.  The Associated Press notes that the Obama White House plans to “consider closing a number of special tax breaks for oil and gas companies to pay for the proposal.”  So, as if spending another $50 billion (as just a first installment on a larger commitment, no less) is not enough, the president plans to further strike at the heart of the American economy by giving oil and gas companies yet another excuse to pack their things and bring their business and their jobs and their taxable revenue elsewhere.  The same thing goes for another $100 billion proposal the president plans to unveil mid-week — the AP writes: “Similar to his proposal to pay for the infrastructure investments, Obama will ask lawmakers to close tax breaks for oil and gas companies and multinational corporations to pay for the plan.”

It’s like watching a child ride his tricycle head-first into a tree.  Only this is no accident.  This is 100 percent diametrically opposed to what we should be doing during an economic downturn.  We should be saving, not spending.  We should be making the United States of America as dashingly attractive as possible for oil companies and gas companies and multinational corporations, not chasing them out by instituting arbitrary moratoriums and making it infinitely more expensive to do business for the entirely superficial facade of paying for a stimulus bill that we all know will not work.   President Barack Obama is actively working to destroy long-term economic and job growth in the name of a thinly-veiled attempt to pay off unions and other special interests in advance of a mid-term election in which the Democratic Party is set to be ruthlessly eviscerated by a newly awakened American people.

This is no accident.  If the president were merely looking for some sort of populist boost in an attempt to shape public opinion in the weeks leading up to November 2, he would have called for the reintroduction of the housing tax credit, or a sequel to Cash For Clunkers.  (Who cares that both may have caused more long-term harm than immediate good?  Unintended consequences have never stopped liberals before.)  But it wasn’t enough for this president to settle for the bump in the polls caused by a bunch of naive voters who recently found themselves behind the wheel of a shiny, new car — with the time running on the Democrats’ handle on congressional leadership, he wanted to strike another blow in his ongoing War Against Success and Prosperity.

The entire endeavor is an absolutely ridiculous farce.  Just like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was about neither recovery nor reinvestment, this new call for a $50 billion infrastructure investment has nothing to do with infrastructure.

Thankfully, America has seen it all before.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think the guy is ACTUALLY MANIC. When he goes off prompter and starts ‘preaching’ and doing stand-up, it’s really scary. And it’s with OUR money. If I hear the D and R driving story one more time……….

  2. Here, catch you some stimulus says:

    In that photo, that money Hussein is tossing is merely the interest on the newest 50,000,000,000 they are intent on wasting.

  3. Dr Scholl says:

    Let’s be honest, it’s about buying votes, ‘b’union votes. Couldn’t be any more obvious 55 days from an election.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wrong, the photo is him paying Michelle’s Spain hotel bill (the expensive part – Air Force, Secret Service, travel arrangers, etc), with our money.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We are going to have really nice highways and HIGH SPEED trains to get to our respective unemployment offices. Yeah.

  6. Sam says:

    “It’s like watching a child ride his tricycle head-first into a tree.”

    Riding a tricycle is above his pay grade.

  7. S.B. says:

    I wish my grandson, one year old in Nov., could catch a bit of that money being tossed to be able to pay his share on the national debt. What a pathetic government.

  8. Twas a noble country says:

    This countries burial plot is shovel ready.

  9. Hokie says:

    I had trouble sleeping last night after that presidential appearance in Wisconsin. I kept going back, for some weird reason, to that young long haired woman, to the rear of and on Obama’s left. How can people as herself smile incessantly, to this throwing of funny money????? I’m sorry, but blind mesmerism scares me.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Check out the riots in France over their pension plans restructuring. It’s coming to America folks. Only 3 Tr, I mean 3fm (funny money) is involved.

  11. Anonymous says:

    10:03,

    United States Of America
    ……. RIP …………
    Born 1776 Adopted 1791
    …. Put Down 2010 …..

  12. Boston Blackie says:

    This is just another way for them to try to buy votes from the unions. This is also just a preview of what’s to be shoved down our throats by the lame duck Congress.
    At least the sign companies will get shovel ready jobs out of this since they will have to put up new signs along the roads, God forbid they recycle the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” signs all over the place.

  13. I LOVE RACHEL BROWN says:

    We should support THIS Democrat, in the primary anyway!!!!!
    Go Rachel Brown!!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/07/AR2010090702835.html

  14. RACHEL BROWN ROCKS says:
  15. ContractorJohn says:

    Saw that this was re-tweeted by Rep. Darrell Issa on Twitter. Great article and great website. I guess I just found another daily stop on my tour ’round the internet.

  16. Get rid of Barney says:

    Call me crazy, I just donated to a Democrat. Barney Frank, father of the housing bubble, has got to go. Clean House 2010.

  17. Get rid of Barney says:

    “I regard her as an example of the price you pay for free speech. I don’t think she is very rational.”

    -Barney Frank

    They look down their noses, even at people of their own party, who dare try to get them to explain themselves for what they are doing to this country. This man must be defeated. This primary is close approaching, Sept 14.

  18. I'm in love says:

    “I chose to run for Congress (Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional district), because I realized I am more competent than those currently holding office, and failure to change current policies will result in a collapse of the nation.”

  19. Dee says:

    I don’t know why I am continually amazed at BO. Can he not see that he has already spent more than we will ever be able to pay back and still unemployment has risen? How much money can we throw at “roads and bridges”? That’s always “Fast Eddie’s” (governor of Pa) cry for the need to increase tolls and taxes. If my state is covering roads and bridges and now the Federal Government is also contributing billions, we should have the best roads in the entire universe! Does BO not realize that many of the unemployed are not qualified to work on “infrastructure”? Silly me, look who is not qualified to be POTUS! I also heard that he is going to set up a special bank run by the government to make sure that this money is spent where it is intended to be spent and on the projects it was intended for. That should add several hundred more government jobs. Soon everyone will be working for the government. Then it will be interesting to see where the money to pay all these government employees and maintain their pensions comes from.
    He keeps saying that the Republicans continue to block his bills but in reality he does not need the Republican vote to pass anything.
    I noticed that he said these potential job building initiatives will continue for the next 6 years. I think that would be around the time his dream of a second term ends.
    How many more days until 2012!

  20. Gail B. says:

    Folks, NOTHING a politician does is by accident.

    I started some research for a newspaper column back when Bush began spending. Even when “W” was in office, anything over a dollar was considered excessive. I can’t remember the source except that it was by a reporter for an African (if I remember correctly) newspaper. He said that the best way to overturn a government was to bankrupt it. I’ve looked for it again (I’d found it online) to no avail, but the man’s words REALLY got me to thinking…and watching, especially since The One has been in office.

    Politicians believe that the only way they’ll be reelected is by bringing home federal dollars to their districts, but the people do not want to owe any more money than the nation does already. So, as the expression goes, “They’re damned if they do, and they’re damned if they don’t.”

    The One knows that he is on the road to the financial collapse of this country, but all he’s after now is (to paraphrase Biden and Pelosi) the four-letter word: VOTES–VOTES–VOTES–VOTES!!!

    Thank goodness this nation is waking up. Remember how delighted Jeff was last year (it was only last year, wasn’t it?) when he returned from Poland to find Americans stirred up like hornets?

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to call the Henry County Elections Office to see about getting an absentee ballot for November 2. Georgia’s electronic voting machines cannot be audited.

  21. Gail B. says:

    Hokie, I did a doubletake when I saw your name. My late husband’s name was Hoke.

  22. Chuck harrison says:

    I like Obama’s analogy….”the Republicans drove the economy into a ditch”..
    Do you people really want to give them the keys to the economy again?
    Go fiqure.

  23. Hokie says:

    Being a VT fan, Hokie is one of my thousands of pen names. I am a diarrhetic commenter. I’m surprised Jeff doesn’t block my IP or email address. I am a pain in the arse. But, it’s only because I love my country (as founded).

    How about that Boise State? What a game.

  24. Anonymous says:

    You’re easy Chuck. it’s a childish analogy he has used a hundred times now. The ol D & R shtick. He’d put it into D to go forward over a cliff with our country. It’s time to R a while and reverse. Plus he’s a hypocritical fool, he himself has doubled the debt in his 18 months at the wheel.

  25. Poor Chuck says:

    Chuck, I’d give em the keys, and let em have my classic Bonneville to boot.

  26. My two favorite pictures used on this site are the one above of Gangsta BHO throwing his (I mean, OUR) money away…..and the one of Gore spewing feces from his mouth. Thanks for making me smile today, despite The One’s grotesque obsession to keep spending money we don’t have.

    (Actually, my third fave is Barney Frank busting a move…..Saturday Night Fever style.)

  27. Chuck harrison says:

    Anonymous,
    Who told you Obama doubled the debt in 18 months…Glenn Beck? Sounds like something you might have heard on Fox News. Maybe you should start get your numbers from fact based media.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Back to the drawing board, Hussein.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_tax_breaks_impact

  29. Bob Upton says:

    When the Mayans stopped their calendar in December of 2012 it was only because they weren’t sure if there would be a world left after Barry, Hugo, Mahmoud, Vladimir, et al got done screwing it up.

    Americans! Do your part to save the world in the next two elections! Vote against all socialists, demagogues, dictators and narcissists. In other words, vote for people that are not like 90% of the ones we’ve been electing.

    With all due respect to the Mayans, our world doesn’t have to end in 2912.

  30. Bob Upton says:

    Just saw that this last weekend Jerry Brown told the “big labor” folks in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia that the way to create jobs in the Once-Golden State was to put more money into the schools and expand apprenticeship programs in the workplace.

    Translation: If I’m elected governor I will take more from the peasants and give it to the “schools” (aka teacher’s unions) and expand “apprenticeship programs” (push people into union membership)

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, businesses are shrinking, closing their doors or moving to a friendlier place.

  31. Poor Chuck says:

    doubled the yearly debt (deficit) fool

  32. Poor Chuck says:

    And Beck is smarter than your dumb arse

  33. Profligate in the WH says:

    ‎”Republics are created by virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. These fall when the wise are banished from the public councils, because
    they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they
    flatter the people in order to betray them.”

    Edwin Meese III

  34. Hillary 2012 says:

    If I may grossly paraphrase Hillary Clinton today….

    This clown in the White House is running up the national debt so bad that it threatens our national security and our very existence.

  35. Anonymous says:

    It appears Barack could well lose Rahm and Hillary very shortly. The rats are scurrying.

  36. Sam says:

    Jeff, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to repeat this portion of John Morians post on July 13.

    Our ancestors bought our freedom with their blood. We have squandered it. They gave us a political system based on thousands of years of philosophy connected with the idea that man is free by nature and the only proper role of government is to act as protector of a man’s right to be free, that only a government which retaliates with force to protect a citizen against force is just, and that once a government goes beyond acting as policeman (protector of man’s rights) and initiates force against man, then that government is no different than a criminal. It is a criminal that initiates force against others. This form of government is a threat to man’s very existence.

  37. Sam says:

    Wanna see a ‘balanced budget’? look at the rapper to the left in that automated graphic….. balanced on his head. Obama could take a lesson from him and hang onto our money (even thru the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’).

  38. Patrick Henry says:

    What are we patriots to do when the White House has become full of SDS, Weather Underground and Communists?

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