Back in February of 2009, the newly inaugurated Barack Obama warned that without passage of his $800 billion stimulus plan, "an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe."
The President was so confident of his Keynesian spending barrage on steroids that he chided those who questioned him for presenting "phony arguments and petty politics."
Only six months later in August 2009, Obama claimed victory. "We've rescued our economy from catastrophe," he announced in a Rose Garden ceremony, even though unemployment stood at 9.4%.
His boasting was at best a bit premature. Two years later the economy is still in a rut. Among other claims that proved to be false, Obama promised his spending binge would prevent unemployment from exceeding 8.0%. It immediately shot beyond his self-imposed threshold to over 10% and stubbornly remains at 9.1% today. Fourteen million Americans remain technically unemployed by the government's statistics. In addition, another 6 million are unaccounted for having given up looking for a job and have left the workforce.
Obama said his plan would "save-or-create" 3.5 million jobs, but new job creation has been the most stubborn of any recession since the Great Depression. Government is about the only place that has increased in employment, which only added to the growth in federal spending. Consumer confidence continues to sag, reaching a seven month low in July. Economists at the Fed have revised downward their already modest projections for 2011 growth to a yawnable 2.7 – 2.9%.
As the recession drags on instead of bold predictions and victory celebrations, the President has changed is tone. All those "shovel ready projects funded by the stimulus that were going to jolt the economy and create jobs "weren't so shovel ready" after all he dismissively joked. This recovery is "going to take time" he now says, and instead of criticism of his failed policies, Americans need to just "be patient."
What he doesn't mention is that while he and his Democrat sycophants implemented his failed plan, the national debt has increased almost $5 trillion – about 50 percent – in just over two years. Government spending as a percent of GDP has increased about 25%. We're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar our government spends. By the end of 2011, the total debt will equal the nation's entire economic output. And, his own budget analysts tell us to expect much more of the same for years to come.
Obama's economic stimulus plan is now almost universally considered a failure. There are volumes of evidence to back up the indictment. One of the best examples is also one of the most simple offered by Jeffrey Anderson in The Weekly Standard.
Anderson reviewed the just released Seventh Quarterly Report on the effects of the Stimulus by Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. These are the three inside guys hand-picked to put the best face possible on the President and his Administration. The report claims that the Stimulus saved-or-created 2.4 million private or public jobs.
In addition to all the legitimate reasons to doubt the White House's calculations and claims of "saving" jobs, Anderson notes that six months ago, the same quarterly update by the Council claimed 2.7 million jobs had been added or created, which would seem to be an admission by the White House that the Stimulus has actually caused the economy to shed nearly 300,000 jobs in the last six months, and that the economy would have been better off without it. That's something many of us have been saying for a long time.
Anderson also did a little simple arithmetic using the Council's own numbers. He divided the $666 billion the Council claims has been spent to date on those 2.4 million jobs for which they claim credit. The answer: each one of those saved-or-created jobs cost the taxpayers $278,000.
"In other words," Anderson concludes, "the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the 'stimulus,' and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead."
With his economic policies having failed, Obama is now campaigning for a second term. The only apparent change he's made to his economic thinking is to expand his class warfare to include the private jet industry. Failure should not be rewarded. The 2012 elections give us hope for a change in the White House.
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