Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stimulus = Fail EPIC FAIL

And getting worse with each passing day:

When the Obama administration releases a report on the Friday before a long weekend, it's clearly not trying to draw attention to the report's contents. Sure enough, the "Seventh Quarterly Report" on the economic impact of the "stimulus," released on Friday, July 1, provides further evidence that President Obama's economic "stimulus" did very little, if anything, to stimulate the economy, and a whole lot to stimulate the debt.

The report was written by the White House's Council of Economic Advisors, a group of three economists who were all handpicked by Obama, and it chronicles the alleged success of the "stimulus" in adding or saving jobs. The council reports that, using "mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus" (which it describes as a "natural way to estimate the effects of" the legislation), the "stimulus" has added or saved just under 2.4 million jobs — whether private or public — at a cost (to date) of $666 billion. That's a cost to taxpayers of $278,000 per job.   

In other words, the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the "stimulus," and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead. 

Furthermore, the council reports that, as of two quarters ago, the "stimulus" had added or saved just under 2.7 million jobs — or 288,000 more than it has now.  In other words, over the past six months, the economy would have added or saved more jobs withoutthe "stimulus" than it has with it. In comparison to how things would otherwise have been, the "stimulus" has been working in reverse over the past six months, causing the economy to shed jobs.

Again, this is the verdict of Obama's own Council of Economic Advisors, which is about as much of a home-field ruling as anyone could ever ask for. In truth, it's quite possible that by borrowing an amount greater than the regular defense budget or the annual cost of Medicare, and then spending it mostly on Democratic constituencies rather than in a manner genuinely designed to stimulate the economy, Obama's "stimulus" has actually undermined the economy's recovery — while leaving us (thus far) $666 billion deeper in debt. 

The actual employment numbers from the administration's own Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent when the "stimulus" was being debated. It has since risen to 9.1 percent. Meanwhile, the national debt at the end of 2008, when Obama was poised to take office, was $9.986 trillion (see Table S-9). It's now $14.467 trillion — and counting.

All sides agree on these incriminating numbers — and now they also appear to agree on this important point: The economy would now be generating job growth at a faster rate if the Democrats hadn't passed the "stimulus."

But it doesn't stop there, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Two years ago, officials said, the worst recession since the Great Depression ended. The stumbling recovery has also proven to be the worst since the economic disaster of the 1930s.

Across a wide range of measures—employment growth, unemployment levels, bank lending, economic output, income growth, home prices and household expectations for financial well-being—the economy's improvement since the recession's end in June 2009 has been the worst, or one of the worst, since the government started tracking these trends after World War II.

In some ways the recovery is much like the 1991 and 2001 post-recession periods: All three are marked by gradual output growth rather than sharp snap-backs typical of earlier recoveries. But this recovery may remain lackluster for years, many economists say, because of heavy household debt, a financial system still damaged by the mortgage crisis, fragile confidence and a government with few good options for supporting growth. ...

Banks are less able or willing to lend than before the recession. Since the recovery started, banks have reduced money they make available through credit card lines from $3.04 trillion to $2.69 trillion and have reduced home equity credit lines from $1.33 trillion to $1.15 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Policy makers, meanwhile, are reluctant to do more to stimulate economic growth. The Federal Reserve has already pushed short-term interest rates to near zero. Two rounds of quantitative easing that including purchasing $1.425 trillion in mortgage bonds and $900 billion in Treasury debt helped to stabilize the economy but failed to spur a vigorous recovery.

Likewise, fiscal stimulus, either in the form of tax cuts favored by Republicans or spending increases favored by Democrats, looks unlikely given large federal deficits and the disappointing results of earlier efforts, including President Obama's $830 billion stimulus program of 2009. ...

Debt and a dismal job market have hurt consumers' confidence, which further damps their willingness to spend. The University of Michigan finds that 24% of households expect to be better off financially within a year's time. That's the lowest this measure has been at this point in a recovery since World War II.

The Obama administration, not surprisingly, has its head stuck firmly in the sand:

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said job growth had been "significantly faster" than the recovery in the 2000s, though there was a long way to go. He added that recovering from a bubble-based expansion driven by consumer spending and housing toward more exports and investment was tough work. "We can't just go back to what we did before," he said.

As you can see, there is no hope of genuine recovery with these people in charge.

Liberalism in action.  We need a lot less of it.

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