06.30.2009 0

ALG in the News: Not so stimulating

  • On: 07/24/2009 09:25:20
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility

  • ALG Editor’s Note:
    In the following, the White Mountain Independent features Americans for Limited Government’s Chairman Howie Rich and his column.

    Not so stimulating

    By: Howie Rich, Americans for Limited Government

    With polls showing that the majority of American citizens are no longer optimistic about the mammoth federal “stimulus” plan passed earlier this year, the administration of President Barack Obama is once again trying to spin (and spend) its way out of trouble.

    Of course, that strategy is proving difficult as Obama’s own vice president admitted earlier this month that the administration had “misread” the economy – a remark which could very well go down as the understatement of the century.

    Earlier this year, Obama claimed that his “stimulus” plan would hold unemployment to “only” 8 percent. Unfortunately, the national unemployment rate is currently at 9.5 percent – and still rising.

    Consumer credit delinquencies are at an all-time high, and a “debt explosion” looms on the horizon as the $13 trillion that America has spent, lent or pledged on “economic recovery” begins to push interest rates through the roof.

    Meanwhile, welfare rolls are once again skyrocketing – due in large part to the deliberate undoing of welfare reform that the Obama administration snuck into its “stimulus” bill.

    Also, the Federal Reserve Bank has nearly doubled the amount of money in circulation over the past year – charting a reckless path toward record inflation.

    In other words, we’re heading right into a perfect fiscal storm – and for what? Where are the millions of new jobs that Obama promised?

    Frankly, all the American people have received from the Obama “stimulus” are empty promises and an ever-escalating tab that their children and grandchildren will be paying off for decades.

    Prior to the passage of his proposal, Obama spoke of the desperate need to fund “shovel-ready” projects that would put millions of Americans to work. With considerable rhetorical flourish, Obama sold the “stimulus” notion to the American people with a mix of patriotic urgency and carefully-chosen New Deal imagery.

    “We must act swiftly,” remember? “We must act decisively.” Our economy was “teetering on the brink.”

    This “do-or-die” mentality obviously had its desired effect. Congress rammed through a bill that only one U.S. lawmaker actually took the time to try and read prior to casting his vote – which makes you wonder how much our lawmakers really knew about the massive boondoggle they approved.

    For example, did they know that only 17 percent of the discretionary spending included in the “stimulus” was for infrastructure projects? Or that only 11.3 percent of its appropriated spending was scheduled to be tapped in 2009?

    Of course, now that the “stimulus” approach is clearly failing, the president is trying to have it both ways.

    On the one hand, Obama says his plan is working “as intended” and that economic indicators remain poor because numerous projects are still waiting “to get out the door.”

    Meanwhile, in Singapore earlier this month, one of Obama’s top economic advisors said that the original “stimulus” package was too small and that a bigger one would be needed to kick-start the economy.

    Which is it, Mr. President?

    Believe it or not, there’s a pretty simple reason why the “stimulus” isn’t working – it wasn’t a stimulus.

    Instead, it was an agenda-driven bailout of failed bureaucracies at every level of government ­- one that created 30 new government programs and expanded 70 existing ones.

    The “stimulus” was never designed to “rescue” the economy, it was designed to keep government from having to focus on its core responsibilities and live within its means.

    In fact, according to a recent Heritage Foundation report, the “debt-based Obama economic stimulus plan has become a major drag on economic recovery.”

    The only good news?

    Americans are finally beginning to get a glimpse of the man behind the teleprompter.

    Howie Rich is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

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