Debunked 'stimulus' claim

Debunked 'stimulus' claim

May 16th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

If anybody still thinks the $862 billion "stimulus" has created the jobs it was supposed to create, the latest unemployment report should finally put that notion to rest.

The stimulus was passed almost entirely by Democrats - with President Barack Obama's support - more than two years ago. You may recall one of the Obama administration's key claims about the bill. Just days after taking office, the administration said that if Congress passed the stimulus, unemployment would not exceed 8 percent.

But in fact, a month after the stimulus passed, joblessness hit 8.6 percent - before eventually skyrocketing to more than 10 percent. Not once in the 27 months since the stimulus became law has unemployment fallen below 8 percent - nor even gotten down close to that figure.

That remained sadly true last month. The U.S. Labor Department reported that joblessness rose from 8.8 percent to 9 percent in April, and that about 14 million Americans were unemployed. Although some businesses did add employees, natural growth of the workforce offset job creation.

And even the painfully high 9 percent unemployment rate does not tell the whole, unhappy story of joblessness in America. That "official" rate does not include millions of Americans who have given up the job search in frustration, nor the millions who need full-time work but can find only part-time jobs. When those groups are included, the so-called "underemployment" rate was nearly 16 percent in April.

That's almost 16 percent of our people who don't have the jobs they need to support themselves and their families!

So, what does our country have to show for the hundreds of billions of dollars in "stimulus" spending? We clearly don't have the under-8-percent unemployment rate that we were told to expect.

But we do have far bigger national debt - about $14.3 trillion and rising fast - which we must repay with massive amounts of interest.

We also have a distorted market. The federal government used stimulus spending to pick winners and losers in the economy, rather than letting the free-market choices of hundreds of millions of Americans make those decisions based on which companies provided the goods and services the public wanted.

Additionally, in many cases, stimulus spending simply propped up government jobs at the expense of the private sector.

For obvious political reasons, there is little likelihood that Democrats will finally renounce the stimulus as the failure that it has undeniably been.

But its negative, and enduring, consequences should not be forgotten by the American people. It is past time we realize that reckless government spending is not the solution to our economic difficulties.