Sunday, May 24, 2009

Obama Stimulus: Where It Is Working

Here's a very insightful article from this morning's Post, one that looks at a particular slice of the Obama Stimulus and follows the money down through the spend chain to the people who do the work--and the impact it has had and is having on their lives and their bottom-lines.

When I read this, I find myself remembering the stimulus debate--Republicans were outraged by the size of the outlay--but even more so that projects like this made up only about half of the total. Even the hardest core fiscal conservative could see that stimulative government spending in the near-term could provide a boost to the economy and aid in putting people back to work. What happened to that bill (if we take the time to remember) is that it had three parts--reasonably stimulative projects such as the one in this story; a poorly conceived tax cut (it didn't lower rates, it was a simple rebate) much of which went to those not paying income taxes already; and spending on items that amounted to no more than straight policy plays--the "we won, so we get to use the crisis to our advantage" stuff. Republicans agreed with the first part, wanted a different kind of tax cut for the second, and disagreed completely with the third.

So as I read this story this morning, I am grateful that the people interviewed are finding their lives on the upswing as a result of the project that got funded. And I give credit to the President who pushed for it. But I find myself thinking about the bucket with a hole in the bottom (Dear Liza) when I consider the policy tricks funded and the non-stimulative tax cut.


Smoothfur said...

A momentary stimulus at best.
The jobs are short term, low paying and offer few if any benefits. With their recent unemployment fresh in their minds, people are scared to spend.

These are the kind of jobs that have little or no impact on economic improvement albeit they are a bit better than nothing.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Yes---but the thought process is, that you buy time for the rest of the economy to improve, which then provides other more stable jobs to transition into. I agree--if the economy does not improve, this is just a hammer of morphine....but if it does improve, it is a good way to segue there.

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