When the Obama Administration insisted on pushing through Congress a $787 billion stimulus package, the American people were told it would create or save hundreds of thousands of jobs. We were told that if we passed this boost to the economy right away, unemployment would not rise above 8%. Soon after the stimulus was rushed through Congress, members of the Administration made numerous public appearances, each one trumpeting jobs saved in a community or state.
Now most Americans recognize that the stimulus package didn’t work. I voted against the bill because I did not believe it was targeted enough toward the entities that would create and/or save jobs – small business owners. Over 70% of all American jobs are created by this group. Unfortunately, the administration and Democrats in Congress chose to largely ignore them with their $787 billion bailout package. I also felt that we were spending far too much money that we don’t have.
To no surprise, as the facts and figures began to surface, the initial claims of the administration that they had in fact saved almost a million jobs proved to be unreliable.
For example, researchers at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity found 440 ‘phantom districts’ listed on Recovery.gov, consuming $6.4 billion and creating or saving nearly 30,000 jobs. Phantom congressional districts! You would think that would be something that the Federal government could easily check and verify, wouldn’t you? I could list example after example of erroneous claims being made by the administration, such as Head Start of Augusta, Ga. claiming that they saved 317 jobs, when in reality they gave a one-time raise to 317 employees. Why did they make a false claim? Because the Administration’s stimulus “help” line told them to.
If government does not have the trust of the American people, nothing it claims or tries to do will be acceptable. Much of what is wrong in Washington can be corrected by three things: transparency, accuracy and honesty. Washington has a lot of work to do to fix a broken system, but those three steps would be a good start.