RON HART: Stimulus money for 'shovel ready' projects — where did it go?
"Republicans are job creationists. We know the rich create jobs. Democrats believe that jobs just EVOLVE from millions of years of stimulus packages." – Daily Show Senior Debt Correspondent Wyatt Cenac
ATLANTA — Remember when Obama got his trillion-odd dollars of “stimulus money,” which he and the Democrats breathlessly said we needed for "shovel ready" jobs to re-build roads and infrastructure? Please email me if anything of the sort got built in your town. Nothing got built in the cities where I spend time.
Roads are bad in Atlanta. I recently drove though Buckhead with its bone-jarring potholes. Folks have to have SUVs there to survive the roads, some with potholes so big that you can bass fish in them after a good rain.
When the stimulus bill (or as lobbyists for graft-grabbing special interests called it, “The Show”) was proposed, it was made to sound urgent. Politicians said it would bring “rigor” to the economy. It turns out it also brought mortis.
So where did all that sweet stimulus money go?
Of the money spent in swing state Wisconsin, 80 percent went to public sector unions — those with already locked-in jobs. In fact, right-to-work states got $266 less per person in stimulus money than heavily unionized states. Where Democrats had a vast majority of representatives, their states got $460 per person more.
When Obama signed the stimulus bill in 2009, he promised it would provide “help for those hardest hit by our economic crisis.” Clearly, it did not. The states hurt the most, the ones with more foreclosures, unemployment, and bankruptcy, got less money than richer states closer to power. Washington, D.C. got the most stimulus money: $7,602 per capita.
The stimulus was a huge political slush fund with little accountability. Obama credits the passage of his stimulus bill to people having no idea how Democrats were going to spend the money.
Obama, Pelosi and Reid still maintain that doling out all the stimulus money saved jobs. It did — theirs. As recently as the State of the Union speech, they actually begged for more stimulus money — $155 billion more. That is like burning down the hotel you got to stay in for free, then disputing your mini-bar charge.
In the same State of the Union speech Obama said that spending would not cost taxpayers a dime. As is tradition, Bernie Madoff was absent from the floor of Congress during Obama’s speech to ensure continuity of government, should anything like an attack occur.
Rich Democrat donors also got payback. The farcical "green" energy company Solyndra defaulted on more than half a billion dollars of our money, while Obama mega-donor George Kaiser finagled his interest ahead of ours. Other beneficiaries of Obama’s largesse for dubious deals include Larry Page and Sergey Brin (if you Google them you will find they founded Google) for Tesla Motors, NRG Solar owners Warren Buffet and Steve Cohen, and Siga Tech owner Ronald Pearlman. All told, more than 75 percent of stimulus grants and money for such “businesses” found their way to big Obama supporters.
Even creepy crony capitalist of the century Al Gore got his snout in the trough. His investment in Fisker Automotive scored a $528 million loan guarantee. Can you imagine the risks you could take if you were given $528 million that you were not personally on the hook for? Of course all these businesses are tanking or have tanked already.
Al Gore said the stimulus plan worked. He also thinks his Weight Watchers plan is working.
We are almost $17 trillion in debt, and that does not include the Obamas' upcoming vacations or the 50th birthday party we are apparently throwing for Michelle, for which Beyoncé and Adele have been hired to sing.
In the Senate’s disingenuous budget (its first in four years), most of what is called "savings" comes from the winding down of wars which Bush laid out before he left office. On the bright side, we won’t have to invade Afghanistan for a while. I think Russia’s turn is next.
For all their self-aggrandizing rhetoric about "helping the needy" with stimulus money, the reality is that Democrats simply helped themselves. This was only a surprise if you were not paying attention. The next time Democrats give a speech about “shovel ready jobs,” get your shovel ready. It will get deep.
Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com.