A recent report found the White House credited the 2009 stimulus plan with creating jobs that existed before the bill ever passed. When trying to tout the stimulus, the Obama Administration cited 50,000 new jobs on windmill farms as an example of the legislation's impact. However, 19 of the farms, representing thousands of jobs, were built well before any stimulus funding was disbursed, according to research at American University. Stories like these have become commonplace, and as a result, Americans are losing faith in their government at an alarming rate.
Congressional oversight -- one of Congress' key responsibilities under the Constitution -- can begin to restore that trust. However, Congress has given the Administration and unelected bureaucrats tremendous latitude through the stimulus, bailouts, and health care law. At a time when spending in Washington is out of control and the federal workforce is growing exponentially, Americans need Congress to serve as a check on the Administration and its expanded powers.
Questionable Stimulus Spending
The President's answer to the many challenges our country faces is more big government. In an attempt to address the economic slowdown, the President rammed through a partisan, trillion-dollar stimulus, throwing more money at our problems. I voted against this plan because I was concerned about the expensive price tag and lack of oversight. Rather than jumpstart the economy and help grow the private sector, the costly bill has added to the national debt and has expanded the federal government.
The Social Security Administration's Inspector General recently discovered that 89,000 people who received stimulus checks were either deceased or in jail. The payments totaled approximately $22.3 million. Although many of the checks were returned to the government, it is disturbing that the report was conducted nearly a year and a half after these payments were issued.
The stimulus bill is a costly failure. The bill has not kept unemployment below eight percent as the Administration promised. Instead, more than 10 percent of Mississippians are looking for work, and eventually the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the stimulus plan. This type of inefficient and wasteful spending burdens future generations who already are inheriting a $13.6 trillion national debt.
Greater Bureaucracy in Health Care
In addition to our economy, health care is another area where the federal government's role is increasing. Overall, Obamacare creates 159 new bureaucracies, according to a study by the Joint Economic Committee. To implement the new health care law's individual insurance mandate, more than 16,000 additional IRS employees could be necessary. In order to ensure Americans have government-approved health plans, the Congressional Democrats expanded power to the IRS to verify each person's insurance. Now, the IRS -- using taxpayer dollars -- is developing a system to fulfill its new duty.
The President's prolific use of "czars" is another indication of the need for more congressional oversight. President Obama has named 42 czars to oversee specific policies, but only six have received Senate confirmation. Past administrations have appointed individuals to head special task forces, but the current White House's widespread use of czars raises important questions about transparency and accountability. The public deserves to know why these czars are able to operate without Congressional oversight.
Congress should provide oversight of the Executive Branch, not serve as a rubberstamp of approval. I remain committed to reducing the size of the government and making it work more efficiently. Until Congress acts to restore checks and balances on this Administration, the American people have good reason to remain skeptical of Washingto