The more I see of President Barack Obama's stimulus package, the more I'm seeing jobs that boil down to paying people to dig holes and paying other people to fill those very same holes back in.
Economics Guide Mike Moffatt talks about how any fiscal stimulus is unlikely to work beyond a mathematical model because the three ingredients needed to improve the economy are difficult to realize all at one time in the real world: not crowding out, being quick and being cost-effective.
US Government Info Guide Robert Longley sent me a great link, StimulusWatch.org., a site that tracks the projects included in the Democrat's stimulus package.
One of the first ones listed under the "most popular" tab is "doorbells." This project is listed as a "housing project" that sends $99,600 to the City of Laurel, Mississippi's "Public Housing Modernization Funds." The money would create jobs to upgrade elderly resident housing by installing doorbells.
“The elderly units would be enhanced with an exterior and interior doorbell," Laurel's Housing Authority Executive Director Kay Guy said, according to the local Laurel Leader newspaper. "The interior doorbell would be used in case of emergencies.”
It says on the site that this money will create two jobs, and it says on the newspaper's site that it'll create four jobs. Either way, it's a job creator ... right? Well, what happens when all these doorbells are all installed? I imagine that it wouldn't take too much time to install these devices, regardless of whether the work is spread out among four people or two.
Getting back to Moffatt's blog, the question has to be asked: "If fiscal stimulus doesn't work in the real world and job stimulus like this is short-lived -- what's that say about the 2009 Economic Stimulus bill?"
The answer to that question might be found in a couple of questionable health provisions FOX News discovered in the package yesterday, and which CNN's Lou Dobbs followed up on last evening.
Bloomberg's Betsy McCaughey breaks it down quite nicely:
One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions.What's particularly troubling about this provision is that it was slipped into the legislation without any public input or announcements. It just suddenly appeared. See for yourself.
And now we've arrived at the answer. The stimulus bill isn't so much about creating jobs, and it's less about creating fiscal stimulus. What the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is really about is implementing the Democratic agenda, and moving the country toward a liberal ideal.
As the House and Senate enter negotiations today, Republicans should be mindful of this and do whatever they can to stop it.
See all the blogs on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at US Conservative Politics & Perspectives.
Thanks to Kathy Gill at US Politics for bringing Moffatt's article to my attention.
Photo © Jim Watson/Getty Images
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