No one around here shall be surprised by the Star Tribune’s confusion of a deliberate expansion of government with the genesis of a sustainable economic recovery.
From new dishwashers for the Albert Lea School District to a new counterterrorism police force to patrol buses and trains, federal stimulus money is pouring in to Minnesota and has directly preserved or created 11,800 jobs so far, state officials reported Monday.
I am sure the dishes at Albert Lea need to be washed and there is no doubt buses and trains need to be kept safe but federal stimulus dollars might just as well be called what they are; broad-based spending of future taxpayer dollars.
Normally called pork but in the heat of a crisis caused by liberal meddling during the watch of another Nobel Prize-winner, the very same wasteful practices that used to give liberals a bad name are now lauded for their “stimulation.”
But of what?
Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson said statistics showed that the stimulus money “puts people to work,” and was having a “snowball effect” by indirectly sparking more job growth. As an example, he said, a highway construction job in Minnesota made possible with federal stimulus money might cause a company to buy a bulldozer from Tennessee that also meant jobs for workers at an out-of-state factory.
…or they might not buy that bulldozer because they might not be stupid enough to think that this economy is coming back any time soon. One project awarded by and funded with government dollars does not a recovery make.
Smart business owners and consumers alike are now finding ways to make the old bulldozer do the work instead of buying a new one simply because the bank will lend them the capital. Easy credit is long gone for the foreseeable future and even if it wasn’t, businesses and consumers will not soon be lured again into the tender trap of “buy today, pay tomorrow.”
The American consumer can no longer drive two thirds of our economy and like their banks, will spend the next several years rebuilding balance sheets by paying off debt, shoring up diminished retirement accounts and accumulating cash reserves to replace buffers formerly consisting of home equity credit lines and credit cards.
As for “Stimulus” spending and it’s true impact, any relief, dubious as it is, will continue only as long as the stimulus dollars keep flowing. Don’t believe that? Just ask your local car dealer how they’re doing now that the Clunkers Cash has dried up.
Government dollars are probably well spent on temporarily extending unemployment and health care benefits until workers claw their way back into the workforce, but continuing to borrow, tax and spend to create temporary relief will cause potentially permanent and devastating damage to our economy, leaving us worse off in the long run.
It is this very prospect, the fallout of our continued fiscal irresponsibility, that is sparking interest in stripping the US dollar of it’s current de facto status as the world’s currency. A national disaster that at best would force us to quickly revert to a low-wage manufacturer nation and at worse result in a catastrophic collapse of the dollar and our economy.
In either case, a catastrophic collapse of the Democratic Party’s reign looms inevitably as the inexorably slow recovery and sustained unemployment will surely outlast the diminishing effects of empty rhetoric, impotent stimulus packages and the patience of unemployed workers.
In the mean time, President Obama and his misguided policies serve only to distract and delay the healing that only the forces of capitalism can effect; the painstaking process of reorienting, realigning, innovating and ultimately forging true and sustainable models for America’s next economic era.