The American people rightly believe that President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package is a miserable failure. Vice President Joe Biden attempted to convince them other wise today announcing that the Obama administration met or exceeded all ten major projects that they claim defined the Recovery Act in its second 100 days. The New York Times reports:
Biden took on critics who call the stimulus a “grab bag” of too many programs. “It doesn’t reflect a lack of design,” Mr. Biden said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. “That was the design.” Mr. Biden said that the stimulus law was not a “single silver bullet” but rather “silver buckshot.”
The random violence of buckshot is a perfect analogy for Obama’s stimulus. The Vice-President insists on using the number of projects and grants fulfilled as metrics for success. Those measures are meaningless since they take no account of whether the projects are cost beneficial or what affect they have on the economy. The government has never had difficulty shooting tax dollars out the door. The question is how whether that money is wisely spent. Money spent on the stimulus projects is not available to be invested elsewhere in the economy.
So what are better metrics to measure the stimulus’ impact? Job creation. Which is most different than the “created or saved” rhetoric Biden again referenced today. The Vice-president claimed the stimulus has already “created or saved” between 500-750,000 jobs. This comes on a day when the Department of Labor announced that the number of people receiving unemployment insurance jumped by 92,000 last week to 6.2 million. Additionally, new Unemployment Insurance claims dropped less than expected, with 570,000 new workers filing for unemployment benefits.
And nobody outside of Obama’s hard core base believes jobs “saved” can be measured. But setting that fact aside, even Biden’s 750,000 number falls well below earlier administration projections for jobs saved and ignores the fact that the unemployment rate is almost 1/5th higher than the Administration claimed it would be if the stimulus passed.
The Vice President went on at length about how the President has a vision for America’s 21st Century economy and how the stimulus programs builds on that vision. He said nothing about the role of private entrepreneurs having a vision of their own. The Obama vision of recovery is one planned in Washington that leaves little room for the individual ingenuity, rule of law, and free enterprise that are the true pillars of our economic growth.