Monday, January 11, 2010

Stimulus, Unions, Obama & Jobs

When Obama sold us the massive piece of Democratic Party pork that was the 2009 Stimulus Bill (or "Porkulus" in the common vernacular), he did so on the promise that it would keep unemployment under 8%. To this end, he relied primarily on funding "shovel ready" infrastructure projects. Of the $787 billion dollar stimulus, $81 billion was slated to go to these projects. Given that construction jobs are temporary and, in some cases, very specialized, this hasn't worked out so well.

The most recent figures put the unemployment rate at 10%, but as Hot Air points out, even that number is deceptively low.

The only reason the unemployment rate stayed at 10.0% was because so many people stopped looking for work at all. The number of people in the job market dropped to its lowest level since 1985.

Now Obama wants to double down with Son of Porkulus in an effort to bring down the unemployment numbers. He is asking for an additional $79 billion to fund "shovel ready" infrastructure projects, but in a detailed analysis looking at local unemployment figures, AP reports a bit of a bombshell in Obamaland today - these "shovel ready" projects have had no effect on unemployment. This from AP:

Ten months into President Barack Obama's first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an Associated Press analysis has found. . . .

While it might have escaped the left's notice as they ran at top speed towards the trough, small business is still the major engine of our economy. According to the historical records of the SBA, small businesses employ just over half of the country’s private sector workforce and have been responsible for some 90% of all new jobs created annually. Yet the Porkulus all but ignored small businesses. Between tax credits and pumped up SBA lending funds, the grand total of the Stimulus directed at small business was worth approximately $21 billion or 2.6% of the total Stimulus package. Indeed, add together the small business funds and the infrastructure funds, and you still have a Stimulus Bill that, looked at in the best of lights, only set aside 13% to actually create - or save - jobs in the private sector. Huh? Where did the rest go?

The reality is that, besides the massive special interest pork in the bill, nearly one third of the $787 billion to save public sector / union jobs - i.e., those folks who form the Democrats power base. This from Michael Barone writing in the Washington Examiner:

Public-sector employment peaked at 22.6 million in August 2008. It fell a bit in 2009, then has rebounded back to 22.5 million in November. That's less than a 1 percent decline [compared to a 6% decline in the private sector].

This is not an accident; it is the result of deliberate public policy. About one-third of the $787 billion stimulus package passed in February 2009 was directed at state and local governments, which have been facing declining revenues and are, mostly, required to balance their budgets.

The policy aim, Democrats say, was to maintain public services and aid. The political aim, although Democrats don't say so, was to maintain public-sector jobs—and the flow of union dues to the public employees unions that represent almost 40 percent of public-sector workers. . . .

Thus do our Democrats seem like some peverse sort of Robbing Hood, stealing from the private sector to give to their union supporters. In this, Obama seems to be looking to California's legislature - a body which has moved the Golden state to the precipice of bankruptcy and created, as George Will wrote recently, a "'unionocracy,' run by and for unionized public employees, such as public safety employees who can retire at 50 and receive 90 percent of the final year's pay for life." And as Victor Davis Hanson opines, the "California model is important because Obama is adopting it as a blueprint on a national scale." That is scary.

In any event, the smoke and mirrors of the stimulus, so little of which went to create public sector jobs, is not the end of the story. On top of that are Obama's proposed major pieces of legislation - health care reform and cap and trade - that portend to saddle small businesses with a far greater bill than $21 billion. Thus is it any surprise that real unemployment is well above 10%, that our tax base is hemmoraging while our national debt is shooting up into the stratosphere? Can't you feel the hope n' change?

1 comment:

OBloodyHell said...

> Can't you feel the hope n' change?

Who would've thought that "Hopenchange" was actually the name of a very large suppository and Obama was secretly the World's Most Evil Proctologist?