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Stimulus argument a fallacy

November 5, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

By now, the nation's unemployment rate was supposed to have been below 8 percent - and falling, President Barack Obama assured Americans last year. Instead, it is 9.6 percent - and stagnant at that level.

Many voters told pollsters the economy is their top priority. And many have decided correctly that Obama's policies have failed to bring the economy into a strong recovery.

Many voters also understand Obama's failure was not his alone. His "stimulus" program - totalling more than $1 trillion, if spending from all related programs is included - was enacted by a Congress eager to address unemployment. Ultra-liberal leaders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bear much of the blame.

Instead of admitting "stimulus" was a failure, the liberals maintain they simply didn't spend enough on their agenda. They have noted that early this year, Pelosi managed to ram a second "stimulus" bill, worth $154 billion, through the House. It stalled in the Senate, however, and Obama's supporters say that is why unemployment has not decreased more.

That simply is not true. The argument relies on a fallacy, that the initial $787 billion in "stimulus" funding, plus much more appropriated for smaller, similar programs, has been spent. It has not.

Many states have not committed all their shares of "stimulus" money. In truth, the program just hasn't worked as advertised by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

Opponents of "stimulus" pointed out it never was intended to provide permanent jobs. Most "stimulus" funds were earmarked for one-time public works programs or as temporary help for states contemplating layoffs of public employees such as teachers.

But "stimulus" diverted funds from real job-growth initiatives such as tax cuts that would have encouraged consumers to spend and businesses to maintain workforces or hire new employees.

"Stimulus" was not a failure because it lacked money. The plan was flawed from the beginning - and that is something for which Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their liberal followers in Congress must answer.



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