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Fiscal Recklessness: The Name of the Game in Washington

Do you remember the famous chart that Christina Romer, then the chief architect of President Obama’s plan and now Chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, produced to help sell the President’s “stimulus” plan to the public?

Her analysis found that unemployment would drop to 7% by the end of 2010 if we passed the “stimulus” bill.  Her analysis also showed that even without the “stimulus,” unemployment would peak at 9%.

That hasn’t been the case. 2. 7 million jobs have been lost since “stimulus” began. Seven months after the “stimulus” was passed, 49 of 50 states have lost jobs. Manufacturing and construction, which the White House promised would gain the most jobs, are actually among the largest job losers by percentage. And, economists – including Ms. Romer – now agree that unemployment will hover around 10% through 2010.

And what’s worse, apparently we’ve already seen the biggest jolt that was expected from the “stimulus.”  Romer said last week in testimony before Congress that, “Most analysts predict that the fiscal stimulus will have its greatest impact on growth in the second and third quarters of 2009.  By mid-2010 fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to further growth.”

Yet, we continue to hear stories each week about how your “stimulus” dollars are really being used, and abused. For instance, it’s been reported that Wichita, Kansas is using part of its $26 million to spay and neuter pets.  Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip, first brought some of the abuses of this funding to light
on his blog, including this one:

Eight Tampa Bay cosmetology and massage schools are receiving $2.3 million in stimulus funds to pay the tuitions for hairdressers, masseuses and nail technicians. The $2.3 million is coming out of the Pell Grant program which received $17 billion in federal stimulus grants.

Monica Ponce, the owner of Tampa’s Muse The Salon, doesn’t believe there is actually a demand for more beauty school graduates in the bay area. Chad Malm, owner of Tampa’s Salon Jack, agreed with Ponce noting there are already plenty of hairdressers in the area. According to Malm, not only is the idea of subsidizing beauty school tuitions ridiculous, it’s also “wasting tax dollars.”

In fact, only 1 to 2 percent of beauty school graduates will be working in the field five years from graduation, according to the Florida Cosmetology Association. Meaning, American taxpayer money is going towards non-permanent jobs within a profession that isn’t hiring.

What’s worse:  Congress hasn’t seemed to have learned its lesson!  Later today, the House is expected to consider and pass a new continuing resolution to keep government funded until Congress finishes its work on the fiscal year 2010 spending bills. 
And, the Democrats have turned it into a “mini-stimulus,” according to news reports!  They’re loading it up with more “stimulus” provisions, including provisions to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the housing giants that perverted their mission of providing mortgage assistance to the poor, leading to the housing market meltdown – to provide mortgages for up to nearly $730,000. 

With fiscal irresponsibility like this, it’s no wonder why Americans have such a low opinion of Congress. Let’s get real.


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