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?
- 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.