Diary

Elections Have Consequences (Stimulus is one of them).

Thanks to Investment Guru Warren Buffet, I now know what I really should be eating for breakfast. No, he’s not given up on Berkshire Hathaway and opened a new start-up called Chez Warren. He was pimping for a second stimulus package because rent-seeking billionaires haven’t been bribed enough yet by Nancy Pelosi. Something truly creepy this way comes.

“Our first stimulus bill … was sort of like taking half a tablet of Viagra and having also a bunch of candy mixed in … as if everybody was putting in enough for their own constituents,” he said. “It doesn’t have really quite the wall that might have been anticipated there.”

Gosh, and I thought corporate finance was his area of expertise. Silly Me!

Well, the scary thing about this is that Creepy, Old Warren may even have a point. Not about the second stimulus, the erection might last longer than four hours and then we’d all really be in trouble. But rather that the entire stimulus project was nothing more than a patronage program worthy of Gilded Age political spoilsmen of yore.

It seems that politicians may have even acted politically in how they apportioned the Porkulus swag. USA Today displays its penchant for reporting the obvious below.

Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year’s presidential election.

Senior Patrol Leader, Robert Gibbs, assures us that President Barack Obama is trustworthy, loyal,…, clean (see, Joe Biden was right all along), and reverent. Predictable smarm follows below.

“There’s no politics at work when it comes to spending for the recovery,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says.

So perhaps the failure of the stimulus to really stimulate much mojo has more to do with stupidity than cupidity. If you build it, and the roads suck, and no one can get there, they won’t come. According to another piece in USA Today, that is what city officials are remarking about the stimulus.

The paper’s analysis of more than 5,000 approved transportation projects shows that the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are getting less than half the money from the largest pot of stimulus funds.

All of this leaves me wondering what good it does to build Austin, TX a Frisbee golf course, if nobody can make it through the traffic snarl to play any golf. I’m just happy the place is ecologically sustainable. Texans requesting O&M funding may discover that the US Government is currently $11Tr in the hole. I’m being nice here, and not counting Social Security and Medipander.

Another problem that crops up was predicted by Athenian Philosopher, Plato. No one seems to be guarding the guardians. Stimulus money that was intended to buy pork BBQ is instead diverted to such illicit tasks as saving teachers’ jobs and meeting state budgetary shortfalls. Maybe Ah-nuld should be taking notes…

Under pressure to spend stimulus money quickly, many states are using the federal funds for short-term projects and to fill budget gaps rather than spending on long-term improvements, according to a report by congressional investigators.

The report, scheduled to be released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at a House oversight hearing, also says many states aren’t meeting some goals and requirements of the economic recovery program. Some states, for example, are not sending transportation funding to the most economically distressed areas, and they are using education funds to prevent layoffs rather than fund innovative new programs, the report says.

This leaves me to state the obviously obvious. Of course, the stimulus money was stolen from US taxpayers. Predictably, it was given to Democratic special interest groups in payment for services rendered. Of course, as long as the Democrats remain in power, there will be an infinite series of “stimuli” until the, Brazilians, Russians, Indians and Chinese do America a favor, and stop buying US bonds.

The only indefinite in the conditional posited above is the “as long as Democrats remain in power” clause. We can still do something about that in 2010. Can’t we?