In February of this year, Congressional Democrats passed the biggest spending bill in history. Literally, they borrowed and spent more money at one time than anyone ever has, in any country, at any time. This plunge into debt was sold to a hurting nation as the cure for our economic problems: It would immediately kick start our economy by investing in "shovel ready" infrastructure projects, save or create three to four million jobs and ensure the unemployment rate never rose above 8%. Yet nearly four months after its passage, Congressional Democrats' promises about the federal stimulus are woefully failing to live up to expectations - at an enormous cost to the American taxpayer.
The latest unemployment statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that the U.S. unemployment rate stands at a staggering 9.4%. This is 1.4% higher than the rate Democrats promised it would ever rise above should the stimulus pass, and incidentally .4% higher than Democrats predicted our unemployment would rise to - without the stimulus ever passing. And while Democrats promised to save or create three to four million jobs, we've lost nearly 1.8 million since the stimulus was enacted, including 345,000 in the month of May. These are grim numbers, and yet while the American people struggle, the stimulus plan has only further burdened our economy with debt.
In a classic case of "bait and switch," last week, the Associated Press reported that only 15% of the stimulus package was going towards infrastructure projects, while the vast majority of the money would go to existing social programs. As it turns out, the Democrats' version of "shovel ready" involves shoveling large amounts of cash into the pockets of government bureaucrats.
With massive bureaucracy and waste, inefficient processes for doling out stimulus funds, classically underperforming projections and one enormous price tag, the stimulus is proving to be just another typical big-government boondoggle - and it's not likely to help much moving forward.
While Democrats proclaimed the importance of getting stimulus funds out immediately, so far funds have been doled out at a near glacial pace, with about $44 billion of the $787 billion spent so far. The White House says that stimulus funding will be "accelerated" over the summer, which begs the question why this wasn't a priority already. Yet, even with a new "acceleration" of funding, don't expect the stimulus to be much help.
If stimulus funding actually ramps up, that increased spending might produce a short term "sugar buzz," but the long term implications are similar to you running up a balance on your credit card for a night out on the town - it feels good now, but at some point, you are going to have to pay the bill, with interest. The notion that we are going to borrow and spend our way into prosperity has never worked before and makes no sense here either. The American people have gotten the joke that spending money we don't have has gotten us into this economic turmoil and doing the same thing will not get us out of it.
Unfortunately, government failures, just like successes, still leave the American people footing the bill.