JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan, lowered the total cost of a 2010 stimulus-funded energy project…
Yeah, let me interrupt this, really quickly: turns out that Kay Hagan is materially profiting from that trillion-dollar raid on the Treasury that the Democrats staged in 2009. Like you do. Or, more accurately, like cash-obsessed Democratic Senators do when the money is just sitting there, right out in the open.
…but kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant.
The company’s original application stated the total project would cost $438,627, and said JDC would contribute “leveraged funds” amounting to $187,983, or 43 percent of the total. As the project reached completion, however, JDC revised the total budget downward by $114,519 and applied all the savings to its share, keeping all the taxpayer funding.
Via Instapundit, Walter Russell Mead looks at a New York bridge project, and… and I don’t really need to give you the background, do I? It’s a bridge, it should have been built by now, and it’s not being built for precisely the reasons that you’ve already guessed:
Many environmentalists oppose the plan due to the environmental damage from the massive dredging operation that is necessary to build a new bridge. Other environmentalists support the bridge, but claim that a wider bridge without room for public transit would increase sprawl and lead to a higher carbon output. Local politicians and planning associations, meanwhile, have added their own lists of concerns to the pile.
These kinds of complaints are unfortunately all too typical of construction projects today. There are so many controversies, so many lawsuits, and so many competing interests that negotiations take an enormous amount of time and money. The time between planning a project and actually carrying it out stretches into decades. To those who bemoan the lack of “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects in America: this is why.
This Robert Samuelson piece on the inherent problem with Keynesian economic theory – which, in my opinion, can be summed up neatly as “First, assume that your planned economy will be managed forever by an immortal, unelected, and incorruptible Keynesian economist” – is pretty good, but it has one passage in it that makes my teeth ache. Here it is, in all of its questionable glory:
For the record, I supported Obama’s stimulus – though disliking some details – and, under similar circumstances, would again. The economy was in a tailspin; the stimulus provided a psychological and spending boost. But how much is less clear. As Romer notes, estimating the effect is “incredibly hard.” For example, the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of added jobs from the stimulus ranged from 700,000 to 3.3 million for 2010.
I would like to offer this analogy, for anybody out there dealing with an individual or individuals who seem convinced that the problem with the 2009 ‘stimulus’ was that it was not large enough:
Imagine, if you will, you have a friend, and he’s a drunk. And he’s in trouble: he needs five hundred bucks to get out from under his bills, but he doesn’t have it, and things get a little worse every month because of it. So you give him five hundred bucks… and he goes on an epic bender. Now, here’s the question: would he have been fine if you had given him five hundred bucks for the bender, and another five hundred for his bills? Or a thousand? Of course not: doubling or tripling the money that you gave him would have just meant that he would have gone on a longer bender, with better ingredients.
Because that’s what drunks do. That’s why they’re considered drunks.
Christina Romer, the former chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers on Friday offered a rather strong opinion concerning the announcement by Standard & Poor’s that the credit rating agency downgraded America’s debt to AA+.
Appearing on HBO’s “Real Time,” Romer said we’re “pretty darn f–ked”…
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never heard that particular word before. Or that I have not used that particular word, either. I have. Often. Loudly. Emphatically. Sometimes even gratuitously. Ms. Romer even used it in context, although ‘in context’ in this case means ‘on the site of what is by all accounts a metaphorical and bacteriological cesspool.’ But I am forced to remind Ms. Romer that one major reason why we’re in the mess that we’re in right now is specifically because of her incompetence as President Obama’s chief economist. As has been pointed out many, many times: the report that Romer and the rest of her eased-out-the-door staff put together used the argument that if the proposed stimulus passed, unemployment would cap at 8%; and if it failed to pass, unemployment would hit 9%. So, having sold the argument, the Obama administration took almost a trillion dollars that we didn’t actually really have and spent it… Continue reading #rsrh I’m glad that Christina Romer can see the humor…
There’s a lot that can be said about this article about how stimulus funds were spent to buy Omahan teachers all copies of a book that effectively argues that Everything’s The Fault Of Dead White Guys*, but little that is new, entertaining, or not exasperated at the fundamental insecurity that lurks in the hearts of your average guilty-minded cultural diversity worshiper. So I’ll just have a laugh at this:
Asked last week if she believes white privilege exists in Omaha, [School Board President Sandra] Jensen said: “That depends on the cultural lens that one looks through.”
I’ve said to Republican leaders, ‘You go talk to your constituents and ask them, “Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?” ‘ ”
Just in case any viewer missed his class-clashing message, Obama referred to corporate-jet owners at least three more times before he took his second question.
It’s shameless because President Obama has only one rhetorical trick, and that’s to demonize everybody who disagrees with whatever faux-Hegelian position he’s ended up taking on any given day. It’s particularly clueless because what the President apparently doesn’t know is that the latest iteration of the tax break in question was put into place as part of Barack Obama’s own 2009 “stimulus.”
Just a few months after lawmakers scolded auto executives for flying to Washington in private jets, Congress approved a tax break in the stimulus package to help businesses buy their own planes.
The incentive — first used to help plane makers recover from the 2001 terror attacks — sharply reduces the up front tax bill for companies who buy assets like business planes.
Via James Pethokoukis comes an updated version of the graph (originally created by Obama’s economic advisers Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein) that has been succinctly countering (for years) any and all attempts to argue that the misnamed ‘stimulus’ worked:
For those without access to the picture: it’s a modified version of this graph, which was used to sell the idea that with a stimulus, unemployment would not rise above 8%; and that without a stimulus, unemployment might rise all the way to… 9%!!!!!! That last sentence is what usually gets emphasized in these discussions, and for good reason (it was a nitwit prediction). But I’d [like] to note that according to the original chart we were forecast to be having about 6.5% or so unemployment at this point, with that number dropping rapidly. For that matter, I’d also like to note that neither Romer nor Bernstein are currently employed by the Obama administration; they were more or less booted as quietly as could be managed, once the magnitude of the stimulus disaster was fully grasped by the White House.
As federal stimulus grants flowed into state- and local-government treasuries, borrowing by these same governments declined steadily. Instead of issuing more debt, state and local governments used most of the federal stimulus grants to finance their expenditures. To put it another way, the federal government borrowed funds from the public and transferred these funds to state and local governments, which then used the funds mainly to reduce borrowing from the public[*].
In other words: we dragged it out into a field, piled it all up in a heap, and set the heap on fire.
*If this sentence did not make you wince, do the Republic a favor and STOP VOTING. You are undoubtedly choosing… poorly.