Stimulating…or Just Plain Depressing? | Citizens Against Government Waste

Stimulating…or Just Plain Depressing?

The WasteWatcher

February 17, 2010 marked the one-year anniversary of America’s favorite farce, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Ironically, this $862 billion “stimulus” bill has proven to be nothing more than a profligate program that has further depressed the nation’s economy.

After a whole year of doling out hundreds of millions of dollars to fund important “shovel-ready” projects (such as resurfacing tennis courts in rural Montana, building a snowmaking facility in freezing Minnesota, and researching the genetic makeup of ants), the Obama administration has patted itself on the back for “saving or creating” anywhere from 640,000 to 2 million jobs, depending on the time of day and the name of the administration spokesperson.  These numbers stand in stark contrast to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which show that 2.8 million jobs have been lost since President Obama promised to create 3.5 million jobs at the onset of the “stimulus” one year ago. 

According to a February 11, 2010 CBS News/New York Times poll, only 6 percent of Americans believe that the “stimulus” has created jobs.  A CBS News poll taken in 2002 on the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death showed that 7 percent of Americans believe “The King” is still alive.   

Even in the highly unrealistic scenario that 2 million jobs were created, that would mean that taxpayers paid $431,000 for each one of those jobs.  Needless to say, that’s an extremely poor return on investment and not something the President should be flaunting. 

President Obama promised the American people that the “stimulus” would repair the nation’s economy and that the unemployment rate would not surpass 8 percent.  However, the unemployment rate currently stands at 9.7 percent with no sign of abating anytime in the near future. 

Even more alarming is the President’s insistence on keeping wasteful and ineffective stimulus programs alive.  His fiscal year 2011 budget extends $266 billion in stimulus spending over the next 10 years, more than offsetting the proposed $240 billion in spending cuts.  Despite the stimulus’s negative effects, the Senate passed a $15 billion “jobs” bill on February 24, a second stimulus package in disguise.  Americans yearn for fiscal discipline in Washington, yet there is no end in sight to lawmakers’ spendthrift behavior.

Taxpayers deserve to know how each of their hard-earned dollars is spent through the stimulus, especially when their money is being thrown away on jazz festivals and puppet shows for the National Endowment for the Arts; ecopassages for turtles in Tallahassee, Florida; or research on the learning patterns of honeybees at the University of Hawaii.  The Obama administration’s $18 million recovery.gov site has been fraught with inaccuracies and misrepresentations.  Perhaps the administration is too embarrassed to reveal the truth…and it should be.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) celebrated the one-year anniversary of the “stimulus” by launching a new website in its honor.  Mywastedtaxdollars.org will be launched in mid-March and will shed new light on stimulus spending.  The effort should be a wake-up call to lawmakers and taxpayers across America that the stimulus is not living up to the claims of the Obama administration.

-- Erica Gordon

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