Two years ago today, President Obama justified his $825 Billion "stimulus" package by proclaiming that "many middle income families will see their incomes go up by about $3,000 because of the Recovery Act:"
The national poverty rate in 2010 hit 15.1 percent — the highest level since 1993, according to a report Tuesday from the Census Bureau. The report also indicated that median household income, adjusted for inflation, was lower last year than any year since 1997. The nation’s median household income last year was $49,445, 2.3 percent lower than 2009 levels.
Poverty is up, average household incomes are down, and the president is itchin' for another round of unpaid-for "stimulus." Price tag: $450 Billion. Last weekend, I was accused of lying on national television for stating that Stimulus 1.0 failed. Liberals continue to stamp their feet and insist that Recovery Act "worked," a Left-wing article of faith that's an obvious prerequisite for supporting the administration's latest scheme. If voters believe Stimulus 1.0 got the job done, they should be open to accepting version 2.0. But did it succeed? Let's examine the evidence:
(1) The president's economic advisors projected that in the stimulus would halt unemployment at eight percent. In its absence, they warned, unemployment could reach as high as nine percent. This was a major selling point of the bill. Two years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, the national unemployment rate remains above nine percent, and the numbers aren't improving. If the active labor force were the same size as it was when Obama took office (it has shrunk considerably due to discouraged workers), the national unemployment rate would be approaching 12 percent.
(2) The president said the stimulus would "lift two million Americans from poverty." US poverty levels have now reached all-time highs. In the year after the stimulus passed, 2.6 million Americans fell into poverty.
(3) The president said middle class family incomes would soar by thousands of dollars thanks to his stimulus. As reported above, the national median income (a good measure of the middle class' collective financial standing) has dipped to its lowest level since 1997.
(4) The president incessantly trumpeted the promise of countless "shovel-ready" projects to sell the public on the stimulus. Earlier this year, Obama himself joked that such projects didn't really exist. Hilarious!
(5) The president guaranteed "unprecedented transparency" in the process of doling out stimulus dollars. Funds were then released to phantom Congressional districts and tax cheats, and were used to subsidize wasteful, redundant, and useless pork projects. As we now know, this "unprecedented transparency" also entailed rushing approval for reckless multimillion dollar loan guarantees to a politically-connected "green" firm, ignoring internal warning flags, and deliberately concealing evidence of impending failure until it was too late for Congress to intervene. Unprecedented!
(6) As I've discussed on several occasions, even if you *fully accept* the White House's own "jobs saved and/or created by the stimulus" numbers (OMB pegs this statistic at 2.4 million, still a million short of the presidents boasts in 2009), the math works out to nearly $300,000 per job. Early analysis suggests that the president's new jobs plan would likely trigger a reprise of that breathtakingly inefficient undertaking. Also, an independent on-the-ground study that doesn't rely on flawed government multipliers and formulas to measure the stimulus' true employment impact reveals that OMB and CBO's numbers are way off.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography