Obama's failed prodigal son
As expected, Obama’s Son of Stimulus, which he persists in trying to call a jobs bill, failed of passage in the Senate. Admittedly it required no prophetic powers to predict the bill’s failure. Everyone knew that it was intended to be used only as a political club with which to beat the Republicans. No one would have been more surprised than the President had it passed either house, let alone both.
But the problem for Obama is that he and his acolyte Harry Reid could not even deliver all the Democratic senators in support. The vote was 50-49, which means that three Dems (one was Harry Reid who voted against the bill for procedural tactical reasons) voted with the Republicans to prevent the bill from getting the 60 votes needed for passage in the Senate.
But this was only a procedural vote on whether or not to bring the Baby Stimulus to the floor and several of the Democrats who voted for it did so just to avoid heat from their leadership. They knew that the procedural measure would fail and were prepared to vote against the bill if it ever came to final passage.
So, if it actually had come to a final vote Obama’s Stim II bill would have failed even more miserably.
But it is worth asking, why were so many of Obama’s own party opposed to his proposal?
The obvious explanation is that they realized that the people of their states had seen through the spin and were strongly opposed to Obama’s deceptive scheme. Had they voted passage and, as is certain, the “jobs bill” produced no jobs but merely poured more borrowed money down a rat hole, the voters would have held their votes against them in 2012.
Beyond that though, I believe that they recognized that the bill could never deliver on Obama’s promises because it is not as Obama has described it.
For example, he claimed many times that it is paid for. It is not. He wanted to pay for it on the backs of the nation’s most productive job-creators.
Obama the socialist refuses to recognize that if he dis-incentivizes production and job creation through higher taxation, people will produce less and create fewer jobs.
Moreover, he proposed making the bill’s expenditures now but putting off the new taxes until 2013, after the coming election.
Could anything be more blatantly political?
On top of that he expected small business people to hire new employees now, paying fresh salaries, health benefits and other costs in this bad economy, in return for a lousy $4000 credit which they would not receive until a year later. Any businessman who makes hiring decisions like that will soon find himself bankrupt. Clearly that would never have happened.
After supposedly spending almost a trillion dollars in search of “shovel-ready projects” (which never existed) designed to restore the national infrastructure, he claimed that his new stimulus would provide jobs for tens of thousands of laid-off residential construction workers who would be employed building or repairing yet more roads and bridges.
Anyone who has ever worked construction knows that the skills involved in the two types of construction are very different. And while some workers might have been able to make the transition their companies would not.
Small residential construction companies do not have the kinds of equipment needed to build roads and bridges. Of course big construction companies, most of whose workforces are unionized, do have such equipment. And of course USG projects require union rules and pay scales.
This part of Obama’s Son of Stimulus was really little more than disguised welfare for unions which would have further fueled the monetary cycle of government (by which I mean taxpayer) funded projects for unions, to union worker dues paid to their union management, to substantial kickbacks to government in the form of union campaign contributions, and then – with more taxpayer money added – back to unions via new projects.
One group that would have benefitted from Son of Stimulus would have been government bureaucrats.
The program included a “Buy American” provision, a great idea but one which, in this case, came loaded down with exceptions and regulations. Firms would not have to buy American if there were not enough American-made products available to satisfy the needs of the project, if buying US-made stuff would increase the cost of the project by 25% or more, or if buying American was found not/not to be in the public interest.
Does anyone for a moment think that the firms themselves would have been the ones to determine if any of the exceptions were in force?
This program would have created jobs for armies of green eyeshaded bureaucrats who would have intruded into every phase of every project to ensure total compliance. The working companies would have endured costly delays and the expense of employing their own battalions of accountants and lawyers to wade through the compliance regulations. And of course the salaries and expenses of the new government bureaucrats would have been extra – funded via the budgets of their government departments rather than the costs of the stimulus.
Even the Dems in the Senate had trouble swallowing all of this. The more nearly honest among them realized that Obama’s first stimulus had failed and this one would have too. The Administration claims that jobs were “created or saved” but they cannot prove such a claim.
The obvious fact is that, had the first stimulus worked, Obama would not have needed to propose a second one.
My regular readers know that I am convinced that our economy can never be revitalized through government spending but only by creating the conditions which unleash the massive creative and productive powers of our private sector.
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