Many of us have been saying it for a while. The White House intended that the stimulus money, which the White House intended to use to save or create jobs, would not really be spent in 2009 as unemployment soared to over 10%.On page 9 of Obama’s budget proposal, we find that, in fact, the White House is now admitting this fact. You are still unemployed by government design.Barack Obama writes,
All told, as of the end of November 2009, about 50 percent of Recovery Act funds—or $395 billion—has been either obligated or is providing assistance directly to Americans in the form of tax relief. By design, the bulk of the remaining 50 percent of Recovery Act funds will be deployed in the coming months of 2010 and during the beginning of 2011 to support additional job creation when our economy continues to need a boost. Many of the programs slated to receive additional funding in the near future are those with significant promise of job creation. These include more than $7 billion in broadband expansion, approximately $8 billion in funds to lay the foundation for a high-speed rail network, and continued funding for other transportation projects. All told, the Recovery Act is on track to meet the goal of disbursing 70 percent of its funds in the first 18 months of its life.
(Budget at p.9) So wait? Even after 18 months all the money won’t be spent?To put this in perspective, consider what the President said in his State of the Union address:
One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted – immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.But the devastation remains. One in ten Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. For those who had already known poverty, life has become that much harder.This recession has also compounded the burdens that America’s families have been dealing with for decades – the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college. So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They’re not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. . . .For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry. They don’t understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded but hard work on Main Street isn’t; or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems.
What the hell? This man says last week that “we acted — immediately and aggressively” and this week says “by design, the bulk of the remaining 50 percent of Recovery Act funds will be deployed in the coming months of 2010.”That is not immediately and aggressively. He says “one in ten Americans still cannot find work” but also says in his budget, “the Administration moved rapidly to sign into law, just 28 days after taking office, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Recovery Act) to create and save jobs, as well as transform the economy to compete in the 21st Century.” (Budget at p. 8)Obama is trying to have it both ways. He admits his stimulus money is dragging out and that even after 18 months it won’t all be spent. At the same time, he tells the public at the State of the Union that the reasons there is still 10% unemployment is “bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded but hard work on Main Street isn’t” and “Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems.”Well, he has the last bit right. Washington was “unwilling to solve” the problems because 2009 was not an election year and 2010 is. The President of the United States refused to help get unemployment down in 2009 by design so he could get credit in the 2010 election year instead.