Obama promised an avalanche of "shovel-ready" jobs to build vital infrastructure before signing the Recovery Act. Instead, stimulus money went to wasteful makework and non-work, including: bridges to nowhere; a California project to photograph ants; a University of North Carolina computerized dance program; a privately owned martini bar and Brazilian steakhouse in Missouri; a bogus New Hampshire beauty school; and renovations to Vice President Joe Biden's favorite Amtrak train station in Delaware. Somehow, stimulus "Sheriff" Biden overlooked the hundreds of millions in stimulus money steered to General Services Administrations junkets in Las Vegas and Hawaii, ghost congressional districts, dead people, and those ubiquitous stimulus propaganda road signs stamped with the shovel-ready logo.
In 2012, Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor reported that more than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by the stimulus were government jobs. Dupor and another colleague also concluded that the massive wealth redistribution scheme "destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs" by siphoning tax dollars "to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment."
In 2011, at a rare meeting of his Jobs and Competitiveness Council, Obama turned his "shovel-ready" vow into a punchline: "Shovel-ready was not as, uh, shovel-ready as we expected," he cracked with a sheepish grin. The dog-and-pony Jobs Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, giggled and cackled at Obama's snark.
More forgotten insult to grievous injury: the telling moment when New York Times columnist David Brooks giggled on Jim Lehrer's PBS show that Obama had told him off the record in 2009 that the shovel-ready promise was a crock, but that he sat on the truth until the Times' Peter Baker reported the admission more than a year later in October 2010. The transcript:
JIM LEHRER: Off the record? So, then you can't talk about it.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, because Peter Baker is a better (reporter) than I am, because I couldn't get him to go on the record with that thing.
JIM LEHRER: He said this to you a year ago?
DAVID BROOKS: It was obvious. I mean, you are trying to build a stimulus package. And when they were trying to build it, believe me, they would have loved to have filled it with infrastructure jobs. But the projects just didn't exist.
While the lapdogs of the Fourth Estate snicker along with the White House about their lies and cover-up, the Wreckovery Act wreckage continues to pile up. And now the White House wants more money to burn for Porkulus Redux.
Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was right when he warned five years ago that the "morally reprehensible" stimulus represented "the worst act of generational theft in our nation's history." It's no joke. It's a $2 trillion travesty built on criminal government malpractice. Take that and shovel it.