The massive “stimulus” approved by Congress two years ago put off the need to confront some serious financial problems, but it clearly didn’t solve them.
Higher education institutions in Tennessee are now dealing with a painful $300 million loss of funds from the stimulus. That, plus some other funding cuts and pay increases, means some public colleges and universities around the state may see tuition increases of nearly 10 percent this fall!
That will no doubt have parents doing a double take and will have many students wondering whether they’ll be heading off to college after all.
The $862 billion stimulus was supposed to tide the country over, in large part with an infusion of government spending, until the economy could get back on its feet. It was thought — or hoped — that the stimulus would create jobs, which in turn would spur economic growth and increase tax revenue.
It just hasn’t worked out that way. Unemployment is still 9.1 percent, and government revenue is still stretched thin.
And now, the stimulus funds are drying up nationwide without having turned the economy around, and the hard financial decisions that the stimulus put off are having to be made after all. The situation is worse today, though, because we have the added problem of a national debt that is even bigger because of the stimulus.
In time, our nation may be able to undo the damage of such unwise federal spending. But meanwhile, we will continue to suffer from the stimulus’ effects. And we will have to face the difficulties that it postponed but didn’t solve.