Obama Must Know His Spending Yields Bankruptcy, Not Growth

January 11, 2010

Could we all agree that we are doomed as a nation if President Barack Obama continues his deficit spending at unprecedented levels? Can you think of any reason, then, to justify this spending? Oh, our president says it’s to jump-start the economy? Sorry, that dog won’t hunt. So what’s his real motive?

Obama has been saying from the beginning that his stimulus plan was for the purpose of spurring economic growth — though when we did have economic growth during the George W. Bush administration, the likes of which Democrats can only fantasize about during Obama’s term, they trashed it as a “jobless recovery.”

On Jan. 16, 2009 — about a year ago — Obama said: “The first job of my administration is to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. That’s why I’ve moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’ that will immediately jump-start job creation and long-term growth.” Obama made similar statements repeatedly.

Notice he said “immediately.” Here we are a year later at 10 percent unemployment after Obama promised it wouldn’t exceed 8 percent. Is anyone holding him accountable for this outrage? Is he humbled? No, he wants a second stimulus, on top of his nationally bankrupting health care and cap-and-trade plans. He has the audacity to demand $75 billion more to stimulate construction jobs. A bill approving the plan has already passed the House, and the Senate is expected to take it up later this month. Unbelievable!

Obama’s top economic advisers also said at the time that his stimulus package would create mostly private-sector jobs. We know how that turned out: just the opposite.

Wake up, you Obama holdouts. Obama either is too ideologically blind to understand that his spending elixir isn’t working and won’t work or doesn’t care because his primary goals are a) to redistribute and redirect that money from people who have earned it to people and projects he prefers to have the money and b) to direct the money into organizations and projects that will enhance his and his party’s chances for re-election (a slush fund).

Listen. This is not just our ordinary back-and-forth political debate, in which Republicans advocate supply-side tax cuts and liberals advocate their class-warfare wealth- and achievement-punishing confiscatory tax packages. We’re way beyond the ordinary parameters of American politics, where the swinging pendulum generally assures liberalism won’t march too far forward.

Obama is spending borrowed money so fast there will be no way to pay it back without severe economic pain, the kind that will eclipse any possible economic growth that could come from his spending in the first place — if it were to work as he has promised, which it won’t and can’t.

The Associated Press just reported that 10 months into Obama’s stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely has helped the beleaguered construction industry. It didn’t matter whether a lot of money was spent or no money was spent; local unemployment rates rose and fell completely apart from the injection of stimulus dollars. The AP’s analysis was reviewed by independent economists at five universities, who confirmed the stimulus strategy isn’t working.

We shouldn’t need to provide the theoretical reasons government spending doesn’t work in order to convince skeptics, because we have abundant empirical evidence that it doesn’t and never has, including FDR’s New Deal.

But for you stubborn types, Heritage Foundation scholar Brian Riedl argues that the theory behind such spending is flawed. He has just published a paper explaining why these programs don’t work.

Obama’s stimulus strategy is based on Keynesian economic theory, which holds that an economic recession characterized by demand’s falling below supply can be corrected through government spending. Keynesian models assume that government spending adds money to the economy, so it almost doesn’t matter where the money is spent; it will stimulate economic growth.

Not so fast, says Riedl. “Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed,” he says. (Now that’s the understatement of the new year). “Every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.” (Hint: Obama knows that!)

Folks, it would be bad enough for Obama to have spent this money borrowed from future generations if it did stimulate the economy. We still couldn’t justify economic growth on the backs of our children and grandchildren. But his plan doesn’t work. What does that tell you?

Truly, it’s amazing his approval rating is in double digits.