The economic policies of President Obama are failing. And just as predictable as the failure is the response from the hallelujah chorus of the left. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who now joins the Janeane Garafalo School of Lefty Loonies, opines in Saturday’s addition of the Oregonian:
“One group – the group that got almost all of the attention – declared that the stimulus was much too large, and would lead to disaster. If you were, say, reading the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages in early 2009, you would have been repeatedly informed that the Obama plan would lead to skyrocketing interest rates and soaring inflation.
“The other group, which included yours truly [Krugman], warned that the plan was much too small given the economic forecast then available.”
There we are. It’s not that more massive deficit spending in an economy already crippled by massive deficits was ill conceived, it is simply that we didn’t spend enough. What a moron.
The fact of the matter is that most economists agree that similar massive government programs initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt effectively delayed recovery from the Great Depression by years. And we know that government attempts to manipulate the financial markets in the wake of Japan’s economic downturn led to the so-called Lost Decade for what was once the second largest economy in the world.
Even if it could be demonstrated that massive government spending has triggered an economic recovery somewhere, the “stimulus” spending envisioned by Pres. Obama was bound to fail. Obama treated the “stimulus” as an open checkbook to reward political loyalists (ACORN, the public employee unions, the university crowd, and the “green” movement) and to increase the size of government and its control over the private sector. In each instance the spending contributed nothing to a sustainable enterprise, rather it simply increased a recurring expense to taxpayers – funding yet another government program.
Each dollar spent increasing the number of public employees, their annual raises, their increased cost of healthcare benefits and their ever burgeoning pension costs, simply raised the level of recurring expenses that taxpayers are expected to pay. The increased taxes necessary to sustain that level of spending removes ever increasing amounts of money otherwise available for private sector investment to create, grow and sustain productive jobs.
Increasing recurring public expenditures for government jobs contributes nothing to economic growth – in fact, because of the added burden on taxpayers, it is generally regarded as retarding economic growth and recovery.
Even in instances where the stated purpose of the expenditures was to sustain teachers or law enforcement, the net effect was to allow state government to defer facing the reality of their past unsustainable spending levels.
For instance, Oregon’s general fund budget is over $1.4 Billion in the hole. That hole gets deeper in the next biennium. But “stimulus” funds from the federal government have allowed Gov. Kulongoski and the Democrat state legislature to avoid making the necessary budget cuts in other areas to continue adequate funding for the schools. In other words, the stimulus funds allowed Kulongoski to avoid the consequences of his own reckless spending.
Whereas a recent nine percent across the board state budget reduction should have resulted in a nine percent reduction in the number of public employees, Kulongoski managed to manipulate the numbers so that the actual number of public employees reduced was less than three-tenths of one percent – a number that is less than natural attrition through retirement, illness or moving. Absent stimulus funds, Kulongoski and his Democrat colleagues would have had to make the choice between adequate funding for education and preserving jobs for their financial arm – the public employees unions.
Had they been forced to make that choice the recurring expense load on taxpayers would have been reduced for the future and more money would have been available for investment and job creation.
But handing the checkbook to those who believe in the primacy of government, who are dedicated to the growth of government, and who are beholden to the public employee unions who benefit from such expenditures will inevitably result in just what we have today: a delayed recovery, a state and national debt that may exceed our ability to ever repay, and morons like Krugman who thinks we should just spend more.
Next time somebody stands for “change” you might want to ask them what that change will look like.