The administration is hitting back at those disparaging the Obama/Democratic Stimulus Plan. They’ve come out with a report, released only to ABC News, called “100 Recovery Act Projects that are Changing America.” Of course, if you consider the title carefully, they aren’t claiming that they’re helping the economy, providing jobs, or improving the country—just that they’re “changing” the country. In fact, they don’t even claim they’re changing America for the better.
Joe “the Sheriff” Biden will be releasing the full report to everyone else Friday, Sept. 17. Until he does, the ABC news report provides a glimpse into the administration’s ideas on what it considers “successful” stimuli.
- Cleanup of an old electronics plant in South Plainfield, N.J. with $30 million. The efforts have created 68 jobs so far, but the administration claims it will be an “economic boon” when the new industrial park opens next year. Of course, that assumes other office parks in the area will be 100% leased and the new space is needed (and that there is any private industry left in the area after all the government “help”). This is a fine example of the “if we build it, they will come” theory, which works better in baseball movies than in a real world bad economy. The project does provide an environmental benefit, although probably no economic one except to the 68 workers. Cost $441,176.47/job.
- $154 million to the Cancer Genome Atlas Project, which beefs up cancer research at 15 research institutions and has 150 scientists involved. Not to diminish cancer research, but how does this stimulate the economy? And what were those researchers doing before the stimulus money was tossed their way–flipping burgers at McDonalds? Probably not. More likely, they were already doing research in the field, but this just gives them more funds to do it with. Cost: $1,026,667/scientist (although admittedly there are probably some research assistants, etc. involved. On the other hand, the money probably isn’t creating many new jobs for scientists.)
- $175 million for New York’s Staten Island Ferry Terminal/ 120 workers. While few would argue that the country’s infrastructure is in disrepair, why are people in Montana and Kansas paying for the Staten Island Ferry Terminal? Isn’t that New York’s job? Cost: $1,458,333 per worker.
These programs, which apparently are the administration’s poster children of successful stimulus projects, show just how little understanding the White House has about economics. After all, there is more to stimulating the economy than throwing money at jobs that aren’t actually producing things people need and will pay for. (Again, we aren’t diminishing the importance of cancer research or a quality ferry terminal, only that those aren’t actually things that stimulate the economy.)
As we’ve heard from this White House many times, it’s all about hope and change. The Obama administration is hoping you’ll forget the changes they’ve made in the country and our economy.
We’ll see if that’s the case, come November.