Before Americans buy President Obama's pitch for a $50 billion infrastructure stimulus and accompanying tax increase, they should take a closer look at what happened to the $70.6 billion “investment” under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University did, and what researchers found was no boom in new jobs. Instead, “stimulus dollars created more job shifting than actual new jobs.”
Moreover, “(W)e found no evidence that funds were successfully targeted at areas of the economy with high unemployment,” said Daniel Rothschild, co-author of the study.
And worse still, some states like Maryland took the federal cash and cut their infrastructure budgets, The Heritage Foundation reports. In other cases, stimulus dollars were used to cover general expenses.
And consider those instances in which stimulus spending actually stymied economic growth. Such as how federal money, with a raft of regulations, stalled the construction of two new fire stations in San Antonio, Texas. Subsequently, the private builder who had been hired for the job lost the contract — and ended up laying off employees.
And while Mr. Obama endorses more senseless taxing and spending, he sits steadfast on a guaranteed job creator: the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
Repackaging and recycling the same failed ideas won't jump-start an economic policy that's out of gas.