Obama claims that stimulus worked when in fact it simply delayed the inevitable with borrowed money
Seriously out of touch:
Three days after the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the national unemployment rate had ticked up from 9.1 percent in May to 9.2 percent in June, President Barack Obama said that the loss of jobs in the public sector is “evidence” that his $830-billion economic stimulus legislation worked.
“Now, without relitigating the past, I’m absolutely convinced, and the vast majority of economists are convinced, that the steps we took in the Recovery Act saved millions of people their jobs or created a whole bunch of jobs,” Obama said at his Monday press conference.
Except he can’t point to anything to prove his point. What we do know, however, is much of that money went to pay down the debt of the various states, which is hardly likely to create jobs. We also know it was spent on things like “Operation Fast and Furious” which certainly didn’t lead to any jobs – at least here in the US.
So this is the only place he has to point:
“And part of the evidence of that is as you see what happens with the Recovery Act phasing out,” he said. “When I came into office and budgets were hemorrhaging at the state level, part of the Recovery Act was giving states help so they wouldn’t have to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters. As we’ve seen that federal support for states diminish, you’ve seen the biggest job losses in the public sector–teachers, police officers, firefighters losing their jobs.”
Or, ”we didn’t save anything, we just delayed, for a short time, the inevitable.”
That makes it hard to claim that the stimulus “worked”. Public sector jobs don’t contribute to the economy – they’re a drain. Oh sure we’ve decided they’re a necessary expense, but they don’t contribute to the economy the way a private sector employee does. What has been said for years is we can’t afford the overall expense of government – that it must cut back to “necessary” and drop the “unnecessary”. There was the easy way to do it (when the economy was good) and had they done so state governments would have been in better shape when the downturn hit. But they didn’t. Government has a tendency to expand when revenues increase, not contract. So when revenues contract, they are unable to fund the excess.
So the stimulus didn’t create or save jobs, it funded the excess jobs states and localities should have shed long ago as “unnecessary” and, more importantly, “unaffordable.”
Look, this unemployment problem is the beast that will devour Obama and he knows it. But if this is the best he can come up with, he’s in for a very long and bumpy re-election campaign, at least when it comes to this subject.