Washington Post Attempts To Dispell 5 Myths About Stimulus

The Washington Post’s Michael Grunwald is spinning hard within the opinion section to tell us that Obama’s outsourced Stimulus program, which wasted $787 billion dollars for no real gain, and will certainly top a trillion dollars with the interest, was super awesome! These are the supposed myths

1. The stimulus didn’t create jobs. A year after Obama signed the bill, the percentage of the public that believed it had created jobs was lower than the percentage that believed Elvis was alive. But at its peak, the Recovery Act directly employed more than 700,000 Americans on construction projects, research grants and other contracts. That number doesn’t include the jobs saved or created through its unemployment benefits, food stamps and other aid to struggling families likely to spend it; its fiscal relief for cash-strapped state governments; or its tax cuts for more than 95 percent of workers. Top economic forecasters estimate that the stimulus produced about 2.5 million jobs and added between 2.1 percent and 3.8 percent to our gross domestic product.

OK, I’ll agree it saved/created jobs. Of course, a good chunk of them were temporary positions, gone when the money dried up. It also kept public sector workers on the job, and then when the money ran out, those jobs were in danger, because the economies in quite a few of the states are pitiful, just like the economy. Michael does accede that it didn’t keep unemployment under 8%, but provides some spin, and says it “stopped the free fall”, which is why we’re still above 8% for 41 straight months.

2. The stimulus was full of waste, pork and fraud. Most of the Recovery Act consisted of straightforward aid to states and to the vulnerable, infrastructure spending, and tax cuts. Critics may call it “porkulus,” but the stimulus was also the first modern spending bill with no official legislative earmarks, the usual definition of “pork.” And after experts warned that 5 to 7 percent of the money could be lost to fraud, investigators documented only $7.2 million in losses through 2011, about 0.001 percent.

$7.2 million? Seriously? The US taxpayer lost more than that on Solyndra alone. How about $3 million for silly science projects, like the shrimp on a treadmill research? How about $10 million wasted on a turtle tunnel? Oh, wait, Michael plays a game by mentioning only 2011. How about almost $5 billion in waste, as mentioned by Tom Coburn, for the worst 102? The report didn’t even mention many projects that so many people thought were waste.

Two other myths are worthless, but it also mentions some myth that I’ve never heard that the Stimulus, unlike the New Deal, will leave no legacy

The stimulus was the biggest and most transformative energy bill in history, pouring an astonishing $90 billion into record expansions of every imaginable form of clean energy, from renewables to electric vehicles. It included $27 billion to computerize health care. Its Race to the Top was a landmark in education reform. Its high-speed rail program was the most ambitious transportation initiative since the interstates. It extended high-speed Internet to underserved communities, a modern twist on the New Deal’s rural electrification, and modernized the New Deal-era unemployment insurance system. And much more.

Michael is right, it will leave a legacy. Lots of painted bridges, re-paved roads that didn’t need paving, videos of shrimp on treadmills, high speed rail trains that have yet to be built with accompanying videos, oh, and a massive environmental cleanup at Solyndra. Among others. Oh, and let’s not forget the massive debt left to America’s grandchildren!

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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