This weekend three different White House advisers speaking on three different Sunday shows gave three different answers as to how many jobs President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus had been “created or saved.” This coming just two weeks after the White House issued a memo supposedly ending the administration’s use of the jobs “created or saved” phrase. And that memo was inspired by several dozen reports that many thousands of the jobs the Obama administration had claimed were “saved or created” by their stimulus were entirely fake.
Nearly three out of four Americans think that at least half of the money spent in the federal stimulus plan has been wasted, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday morning also indicates that 63 percent of the public thinks that projects in the plan were included for purely political reasons and will have no economic benefit, with 36 percent saying those projects will benefit the economy.
Twenty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say nearly all the money in the stimulus has been wasted, with 24 percent feeling that most money has been wasted and an additional 29 percent saying that about half has been wasted. Twenty-one percent say only a little has been wasted and 4 percent think that no stimulus dollars have been wasted.
When President Obama was selling his stimulus to the American people his White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report promising that if his plan became law, unemployment would never go higher than 8.2% and the U.S. economy would support 138.6 million jobs by December 2010. In reality, unemployment is still at 10% and President Obama is 7.7 million jobs short of his promise. Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Brian Riedl explains why:
Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed. Every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.
Yes, government spending can put under-utilized factories and individuals to work–but only by idling other resources in whatever part of the economy supplied the funds. If adding $1 billion would create 40,000 jobs in one depressed part of the economy, then losing $1 billion will cost roughly the same number of jobs in whatever part of the economy supplied Washington with the funds. It is a zero-sum transfer regardless of whether the unemployment rate is 5 percent or 50 percent.
The government rarely receives good value for the dollars it spends. However, stimulus bills provide politicians with the political justification to grant tax dollars to favored constituencies. By increasing the budget deficit, large stimulus bills eventually contribute to higher interest rates while dropping even more debt on future generations.