Slow: Liberals Crossing

Barack Obama’s trillion-dollar economic and job creation stimulus is a Trojan Horse for his Grand Vision of Mass Transit and The Battle for the Planet.

Obama wants a large portion of the money spent on mass transit but exactly how does the expansion of infrastructure that requires permanent public subsidy to serve a small segment of society qualify as a stimulus? You could argue that highways are of the same ilk, but highways are used by everyone in the food chain whereas mass transit requires the majority to subsidize the minority that are it’s patrons.

The states that would be in receipt of these ill-borrowed billions have it right.

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) — Missouri’s plan to spend $750 million in federal money on highways and nothing on mass transit in St. Louis doesn’t square with President-elect Barack Obama’s vision for a revolutionary re-engineering of the nation’s infrastructure.

Utah would pour 87 percent of the funds it may receive in a new economic stimulus bill into new road capacity. Arizona would spend $869 million of its $1.2 billion wish list on highways.

The argument is a labyrinth of cautionary tales.

Speaking of digging holes, Obama also wants to spend $60 billion to “provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation.” He says “these projects will create up to two million new direct and indirect jobs and stimulate approximately $35 billion per year in new economic activity.”

Fixing a bridge, widening a highway or building a light rail system may or may not make economic sense. But the fact that it involves paying people to operate jackhammers and pour concrete does not make it any more worthwhile. If creating jobs can justify transportation projects, why not fill the country with bridges to nowhere?

Consider:

  • Government stimulus packages in and of themselves are dubious in their value when you consider the increase to the national debt, their evanescent nature and the precipitate inflation. If only they worked.
  • Congress can’t and won’t spend this money without an agenda; without earmarks; without wasteful pork. “Why did you sting me?” said the turtle to the scorpion.
  • Mass transit isn’t any better for the environment than cars are as our compatriot Bike Bubba has made serially and mathematically clear.

We all know what a Liberal means when they use the word “innovative.” It condescends whatever their over-educated “elite” brains deem shall be the object of increased government spending. It’s how socialism became “progressive.”

In proposing a stimulus plan that could total as much as $1 trillion, Obama has promised a new federal infrastructure program that would dwarf President Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway system that began in 1956. Obama told reporters at a Dec. 7 news conference that his effort would go beyond “roads and bridges” and fund more innovative projects.

I wonder if anyone has considered that the value of our national interstate system was not the temporary and transient jobs it created but rather the stimulus it created for the economy via efficiencies and freedoms it afforded capitalism and the consumer?

We are fast realizing that Obama isn’t any more innovative than any of his liberal predecessors in the White House. His ideas are warmed-over versions of Eisenhower’s and FDR’s and differ only in scale. What glory after all could be gathered to the bosom of the motherland by a project “half as big” as Eisenhower’s?

If, as widely expected, Barack Obama faces a recession when he takes office in January, many Americans will expect him to deliver on his promise to “create jobs.” They probably will be disappointed, because Obama seems to view job creation not only as something the government does with taxpayers’ money but as an end in itself. That’s a recipe for wasteful spending that will divert resources from more productive uses, and ultimately for higher unemployment than would otherwise occur.

Obama says he will “transform the challenge of global climate change into an opportunity to create 5 million new green jobs,” which he likens to the economic activity triggered by the personal computer. This rosy way of looking at global warming is a variation on the “broken window” fallacy dissected by the classical liberal economist Frederic Bastiat, according to which the loss caused by smashing a window is offset by the employment it gives the glazier.
Leaving aside the desirability of “energy independence” and the merits of Obama’s approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions (which has the government, rather than the market, picking the most efficient methods), the fact that he lists “jobs that can’t be outsourced” as a distinct goal is troubling. Paying people to dig holes and fill them in again also creates “jobs that can’t be outsourced,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a smart investment or an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money.

Obama’s job fetish is apparent even when he talks about spontaneous economic activity. “Businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs,” he declared in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. In a free market, businesses exist because they provide goods or services that people value. A business that makes job creation its overriding goal will not be employing anyone for long.

The preclusion is that stimulus packages in the whole (pun intended), and especially those spent on social engineering projects or contrived global crises aren’t worth it.

All Hope® for Change® is lost.

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12 thoughts on “Slow: Liberals Crossing

  1. The attraction of public mass transit to moonbats is simple.

    A) Limits the acceptable commuting distance (stay in your habit trail citizens).

    B) Limits the ability to take your ball and find another playground (the new gerrymandering).

    C) Public mass transit consists of all union jobs.

    The Democrat party depends in unions to deliver cash and votes. With the demise of the UAW, they are going to be in full panic mode to replace the available pool of zombies and the public sector is the last haven for those scoundrels.

    Ultimately, it all boils down to power and control….same old story from the party of Scrubs.

  2. Why do I pay taxes?
    If the government can just fire up the printing press every time they need money why in the world do they need my money?

  3. Hey, Roosevelt did a massive public works spending program in the early 1930’s, and it was successful. Assuming success was to prolong the depression by 7 years.

  4. Chuck, we still have WPA picnic tables down at Minnehaha Park. Nothing says success like 80 year old picnic tables.

  5. Kermit,
    I think you just hit on 2 new jobs programs. One to destroy all existing “out of date” picnic tables, & another to build new ones.

    Brilliant!

  6. I sure am glad you righties don’t engage in endless, race baiting hyperbole..

    Yep, sure.
    am.
    glad.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/12/29/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4689596.shtml

    Yep.

    BTW – wherever you all came up with the imbicilic meme that FDR prolonged the recession by putting people to work – and by standing up against the ideas of abusive capital robber barons I don’t know, but you guys are silly, really silly, if you actually believe that kind of BS.

    But hey, you make up songs about “Magic Negros” so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised anymore.

  7. BTW – wherever you all came up with the imbicilic meme that FDR prolonged the recession by putting people to work

    That’d be any number of economists who’ve modelled the Depression, and figured that without the “New Deal” things would have been back to a healthy clip by 1937-ish, rather than mired in a perpetual swamp that we needed a war to get out of.

    and by standing up against the ideas of abusive capital robber barons I don’t know, but you guys are silly, really silly, if you actually believe that kind of BS.

    Ah. The old “that’s BS” argument.

    And it wasn’t “robber barons” that gave us the Depression; it was a deflating bubble combined with a series of dumb government interventions by both Hoover (Hawley-Smoot being merely the most infamous) and Roosevelt.

    But hey, you make up songs about “Magic Negros” so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised anymore.

    Well, you should – because “Magic Negro” was a term coined by sociologists to explain a literary device – the preternaturally-wise, all-knowing afro-American character that pops into stories and solves everything, largely as a sop to white guilt. It was brought into popular usage in an LATimes column by David Ehrenstein, a lefty, who used it to chide some of Obama’s supporters – especially the white, liberal ones – for treating him like…well, you know where this is going, right?

    Paul Shanklin (one of the genuinely nicest celebs I’ve ever interviewed, BTW) was parodying Ehrenstein (or, more correctly, the people Ehrenstein was chiding), not Obama.  And – this is kinda important – this was settled last summer, the first time this tempest broke out of the teapot.  Kudos to the left for recycling dumb memes, but please – let’s MoveOn, OK?

    So, as usual, you’re wrong. You need a better source of shrieking points.

  8. Good God Peni! That story is over a year old! A liberal African-American writer for the LA Times coined the phrase during the primary season. Shanklin was making fun of the idea that LIBERALS thought of Obama as “The Magic Negro”.

    Get a grip man!

  9. And Peni, you seem to be fond of the “-baiting” concept… Race baiting, gay baiting, etc. You do know that bait is used to attract, right? You know, like Fish Bait-ing?

    So logically, wouldn’t someone like you, who is constantly stretching the truth, or outright lying, to say “Republicans are racist, bigots & anti gay” in order to scare Blacks, Gays & other minority groups to the Left, be the true Race Baiter & Gay Baiter?

  10. Oh & Peni,
    If you think that the New Deal was only a job creating program, then your level of knowledge of the subject is lower than basic… both historically & economically.

  11. If we’re looking for government to spend a pile of money to create an infrastructure that will liberate ordinary people to succeed, with an impact as big as the freeway system, may I suggest free fiber-optic internet to every structure in America?

    Hi-speed access in every outhouse beats a chicken in every pot. And it might just liberate people to tele-commute (relieving global warming, if it exists, caused by traffic congestion).

    .

  12. At this point, government extention of high-speed internet infrastructure will have negligible effect. the private market has most of the country wired for it all ready & satellite based alternatives exists everywhere else. You can bet that the same entities are already working to get their services out to the rest of the country.

    In the 1940’s there was nothing close to the interstate system, in the 1920’s only a small percentage of the population had access to the electrical grid.

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