Immutable law of Beltway political physics: The only real jobs that a government stimulus stimulates are government jobs. A year after President Obama signed his first almost trillion-dollar economic stimulus package into law, the federal workforce is at an all-time high. The nation's unemployment rate has swelled to 9.7 percent, but Washington's economy is thriving.
More than 2.1 million government workers will be on the federal payroll by the end of 2010. The lobbying industry is booming. USA Today reports that 14 federal agencies have hired 3,000 workers to oversee stimulus spending and have spent nearly $190 million so far on salaries and overhead.
Just one-third of the stimulus money has been spent so far, but the White House is now hectoring the Senate to ram through yet another phony jobs boondoggle in the name of bipartisanship. As GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas reminded Americans during the Republicans' weekly radio address, Obama and the Democrats promised a year ago that the jobless rate would remain below 8 percent with their stimulus legislation. "Americans are still asking, 'Where are the jobs? Where are the jobs?' But all they are getting from Washington is more spending, more taxes, more debt and more bailouts."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that the Porkulus II plan -- reportedly with an $85 billion price tag -- was a "really nice piece of legislation." But you'll have to take his credibility-damaged word for it.
Despite anticipated votes on the bill before Presidents Day weekend, no one outside the Democratic leadership and K Street had seen an actual bill as of Tuesday afternoon. Few will read the whole thing before casting their hasty votes. And once again, we'll only be informed of the last-minute sweeteners, Cash for Cloture handouts and backroom deals after the ink of the president's signature is dry.
Reportedly, public-sector unions are pushing hard to include their precious card-check plan, which would allow Big Labor bosses to sabotage workers' rights to a federally supervised private-ballot election.
Reportedly, Democrats plan to stuff a reauthorization of the Patriot Act into the bill to make it harder for Republicans to oppose it.
Reportedly, Stimulus Jr. will also include a $20 billion bailout for the beleaguered federal Highway Trust Fund, which has been raided for years to pay for bike paths, beautification programs and other pet projects, while its core targets -- basic roads and bridges -- have deteriorated.