Four Years After Obama’s Stimulus, Jobs, Growth and Infrastructure All M.I.A.


Bunker-style concrete toilets, doles to delayed or bankrupt green energy start-ups, $30 million for a spring training home for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and — the irony — an $18 million redesign for the website so the government can spin its own version of how successful the program has been: Here’s the predominant legacy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Sure, States have received millions upon millions of dollars in ARRA project funds for roads, bridges and “public works,” many of which are just now coming up for construction bids.

But that’s just an extension of an already-backward carrot-and-stick relationship between the Federal government and the States, all of which are beholden more than ever before to the Feds for conditional funding and more powerless than ever before to assume Constitutionally unenumerated sovereign prerogatives that Washington lapped up long ago.

Even Texas, for all its leaders’ cock-and-bull about standing up to the executive branch, is as guilty as any State when it comes to cheating on the 10th Amendment when the Federal-funding mistress comes calling. Only California and New York have taken more ARRA stimulus money.

A new story published by Reason dismantles the Obama Administration’s assertion that ARRA has created lasting jobs and that the nearly $1 trillion invested in the President’s first-term economic stimulus plan is showing economic dividends that outlive the lifespan of the short-term projects it helped fund. A survey of businesses that accepted ARRA funds or contracts found that seven of every 10 companies either didn’t hire workers or ended up having to lay off the ones they did hire:

We found that only 41 percent of the companies that received stimulus grants or contracts actually hired workers for the relevant project. The other 59 percent either hired no workers for the stimulus project or reduced their payrolls because they couldn’t afford to retain all their staff even with the stimulus money coming in.

Within the 41 percent of companies that did hire workers, the survey found that 55 percent kept all their workers once the project was done. But 30 percent were…forced to lay off workers once the government money stopped flowing. Another 15 percent of companies hired workers but couldn’t retain all of them. These findings suggest that ARRA did not create much lasting employment among firms that received grants or contracts for stimulus projects.

Look closely at Edward Tufte’s “Lights-On” map of America, an Obama Administration bauble that purports to impress the eye with a graphic representation of where every ARRA-stimulated project across the fruited plain is located. If you squint, all those little shiny lights start to look like a birds-eye view of 831 billion little dollar signs, now scattered to the four winds.


Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

  • chocopot

    Does anyone really believe, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, that the fraud/liar/poseur in the White House ever really intended to do anything but destroy this country?

    • Right Brain Thinker

      Does anyone believe, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, that O’Bama’s stimulus did not keep things from getting much worse? Not the economists, ALL of whom agree that it was the right thing to do (and many of them think it wasn’t big enough).

      • chocopot

        All of whom? I think not. And once agian, the evidence speaks louder than anyone’s opinion. We are in dire straits in this nation right now, and things are a whole lot worse than what we are being told.

        • Right Brain Thinker

          Yes, we are in dire straits in many ways and some things are pretty bad, but we are strong and hanging on, and with luck the country will muddle through. It’s too bad that the party of NO worked to destroy the country during O’Bama’s presidency rather than help to put things back together.

          Maybe I should have said VERY NEARLY all of them, choco, but the truth is that there WAS general agreement among them that the stimulus was needed and likely did stave off a depression. And that’s not opinion, I have read many articles and books that say that. (I’m not talking about what was said in the circular firing squads of the wing-nut blogosphere, where I’m sure you will find support for the idea that the stimulus was a failure, along with EVERYTHING O’Bama has done)

          Do you remember how bad it was? We were in freefall during the last months of Bush’s term. What arrested that fall? The Party of No’s obstruction? Grover’ Norquist’s pledge? What?

  • DonnaAngelStar


  • chocopot

    Yes, just keep making it up as you go along. Go away, troll.