If we need no other example of why government can’t “stimulate” an economy, we have but to look at the use to which the city of Akron, Ohio wants to put some of its “stimulus” money. Akron, it seems, wants to spend some of that money for suicide prevention. Oh, not a general suicide prevention program that might at least employ people. No, Akron wants to build a fence on a bridge that seems to emit a siren call for jumpers to prevent them from killing themselves.
Akron’s All-American Bridge, a “Y” shaped structure that serves as a main artery into the city, has been a platform for suicide jumpers for so long now that area residents have nicknamed it the suicide bridge. Consequently, city officials have proposed using more than one million dollars of the city’s “stimulus” money to erect a fence that will help prevent people from being able to use the span as a means to an end.
Sure it might be a good idea. Who the heck wants citizens constantly plummeting to their deaths from the thing? But, is this something that will “stimulate” the local economy? The only possible answer is a resounding “no.”
With some of the most facile reasoning I’ve ever heard from a politician, Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic says that the million dollar fence is need so that Akron won’t look like an “uncaring community.” Plusquellic told The New York Times, “I think that for a community to have… an icon that represents suicide, and then not to take some action, do something — we’d really look like an uncaring community. That is not what our image should be out there.”
How we go from trying to buck up a faltering economy to trying to make Akron look “caring” is anybody’s guess.
The Times also reports that Akron’s suicide rate is no higher than the average for the country, so the project does not seem very urgent. Rightfully, many residents oppose the great expense of the fence project.
But whether this fence is a good idea or not is not the issue. The good citizens of Akron have every right, of course, to vote on erecting this suicide prevention fence and if the majority agree with it then funds might properly be raised to satisfy the will of the people.
But what is being proposed is that Akron use its “stimulus” payoffs from the perpetual campaign effort of Barack Obama to fund this fence plan even though it has absolutely nothing whatever to do with stimulating the economy.
This plan will not create jobs. It will not foster local economic growth. It will not help save jobs or support businesses. Even if one imagines in the dim, Keynesian recesses of his mind that growing government somehow helps the economy, this fence plan doesn’t even achieve that fantastic idea.
Good idea or no, this is not a “stimulus” plan and the city of Akron has no right to spend “stimulus” money on this fence. It’s really just that simple.
Unfortunately, this sort of misallocation of funds is happening all over the country. “Stimulus” funds are going to improve roads, fund safety projects, going to political payoffs for unions and community groups, and wrongly going to government agencies to fund everything from schools to medical care. None of this “stimulates” any “economy” but that of government. It helps no one otherwise. At least it offers nothing of lasting economic impact.
This is all an excellent object lesson that when left to its own devices government cannot be trusted not to metastasize into areas in which it does not belong. These funds were meant to stimulate the economy and help keep us all from going into a depression. But, instead of stimulating the economy, this money is going for all sorts of things that have nothing whatever to do with the economy. Without the people holding government to strict accountability, government does whatever it wants regardless of what is good and right. Obama’s stimulus is a failure and is nothing else but more corruption piled on top of corruption.
This bridge fence plan, whether it is essentially a good idea in and of itself or not, should not be paid for out of Akron’s “stimulus” funds. But, sadly, this Obama perpetual campaign payoff has nothing whatever to do with stimulating anything other than his plans to run for president again in 2012 and it really was never meant to do anything else but.