Thursday, September 03, 2009
AP reports on a speech that Vice President Biden gave this morning:
"'One of the criticisms is that it is simply a grab bag of different programs,' Biden said in a speech at The Brookings Institution. 'But the fact that the recovery act is multifaceted doesn't reflect a lack of design, it is the design.'"In a way, you have to admire the fact that the Vice President is such a team player that he can go out there and say that with a straight face. There had to have been some guffaws and rolling eyes even in front of what was likely a friendly audience at Brookings. Heck, there were probably people in that room who helped write parts of the stimulus bill, and did so a year or two or three ago. Everyone knows that it was a pent-up wish list of pork -- why go through the stagecraft of pretending that it is some complex, multi-faceted, highly integrated scheme of financial and economic genius?
UPDATE: To AP's credit, the follow-up article has the headline, "FACT CHECK: Biden ignores problems with stimulus." The lede:
"Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed success beyond expectations Thursday for the $787 billion economic stimulus, but his glowing assessment overlooks many of the program's problems, including delays in releasing money, questionable spending priorities and project picks that are under investigation."
So that the AP will report it that way, and the story will run in thousands of newspapers, and millions of people will swallow this lie wholesale.
Simply looking at his (way optimistic) estimate of 500-750k jobs saved with a $787B gives a price of over a million dollars of federal spending per job "saved".
And these are the people we trust with the National Checkbook...
This is a revison of an earlier post I made here.
Joe Biden makes a nice sock puppet to deliver a ridiculous message.
Coming into office in the midst of a financial crisis, Obama & Co had some options. The key was to 1) do things that happened quickly, 2) do things with a high multiplier, and 3) consistent with #1 and #2, help those in need. Thus, for example, we could all agree on extending unemployment benefits as part of the package.
We didn't need to send everyone on Social Security a bonus check. We didn't need to fund Nancy's pet projects. We especially didn't need to skew Stimulus spending away from burly men high multiplier construction jobs into a bailout of state governments and Medicare -- often soft women's jobs -- as Nancy purposefully did. Men have a much higher unemployment rate than women right now. Last I looked, some men still support families.
We especially didn't need to have most of the spending come in 2010, not 2009. My inner cynic has been howling over this since February. Is 2010 an election year, perchance? Can you say Sugar Rush?
I go to "11" on the dial when Democrats call all this "investment." Very little of Stimulus spending will create anything resembling an asset, let alone an asset with a measurable payback period. In the 1930s, we at least got some great infrastructure built at knock-down prices -- I use some of these assets almost every day.
Rahm Emanuel said it best: You can't waste a good crisis.
$787 billion is a lot of money. The average small business takes less than a million to start. Thus, we could have started a million small businesses with what we mostly pissed away on Stimulus. Reread that last sentence slowly.
Three simple metrics on whether we're making progress.
1) The highest ROI for a big company shouldn't be spending on DC lobbyists.
2) Unemployment in DC shouldn't be less than the rest of the US.
3) The incumbent House re-election rate in 2010 drops below 90%.
I expect to lose on all three.