The Stimulus’ Three Year Anniversary

Happy Birthday to the stimulus! Unemployment stands at 8.3% (up from 7.6% on the day the stimulus was signed, but down from a high point of 10% just 8 months after the stimulus was signed – and years of 9%+ unemployment), there are nearly 13 million Americans unemployed and millions more underemployed or that have given up looking for work altogether. There are still 1.5 million fewer people working today than when the stimulus was signed, and, despite what was supposed to be an immediate kick start to the economy, growth has remained tepid at best.

Three years have gone by, but what did President Obama claim back then that the stimulus would do? Let’s take a look back at the statements he made in Colorado on the day he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

“We will need to end a culture where we ignore problems until they become full-blown crises instead of recognizing that the only way to build a thriving economy is to set and enforce firm rules of the road.”

Well, each of the President’s four budgets that he’s produced have ignored the ballooning entitlement crises, even though we know that programs like Medicare and Social Security will become insolvent in the early 2020’s.

“And while we need to do everything in the short-term to get our economy moving again, we must recognize that having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit, we need to begin restoring fiscal discipline and taming our exploding deficits over the long-term.”

So that’s why President Obama proposed trillion dollar deficits in each of his budgets and massive sustained deficits of more than half a trillion dollars for the next decade?

“The road to recovery will not be straight and true. It will demand courage and discipline, and a new sense of responsibility that has been missing — from Wall Street to Washington.”

Courage? Discipline? The President has been in almost non-stop campaign mode since last summer, where’s the courage to lead? And as for discipline, increasing spending every year and threatening tax hikes to pay for it is not discipline.

“But I have every confidence that if we are willing to continue doing the difficult work that must be done — by each of us and by all of us — then we will leave this struggling economy behind us, and come out on the other side, more prosperous as a people.”

It’s been three years, are we more prosperous? Even President Obama doesn’t think so.

“For our American story is not — and has never been — about things coming easy.”

Except that is all the President has been peddling these past three years. “Punish the successful, and you’ll be better off” seems to be his governing philosophy – and our country is weaker because of it.

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