Remember when President Obama bragged about Joe Biden’s fiscal-discipline cred in 2009? “To you, he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the Sheriff,” Obama warned government employees. “Because if you’re misusing taxpayer money, you’ll have to answer to him.”
Fast-forward to 2012. Call in the search teams. Since being appointed the nation’s stimulus-spending cop, Sheriff Joe has taken a permanent donut break. He’s AWOL on oversight. In fact, he’s been bubble-wrapped, boxed, and kept completely out of sight. The garrulous gaffe machine hasn’t sat down for a national media interview in five months.
The Democrats’ trillion-dollar “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” however, keeps piling up waste, failure, fraud, and debt. Who has benefited most? Big-government cronies.
According to Investor’s Business Daily this week, a new analysis by Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor reported that “more than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by President Obama’s economic stimulus in the first year were in government.”
Dupor and another colleague had earlier concluded that the porkulus was a predictable jobs-killer that crowded out non-government jobs with make-work public jobs and programs. Indeed, the massive wealth-redistribution scheme “destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs” by siphoning tax dollars “to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment.”
Will this Keynesian wreckage come up during Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate? It should be a centerpiece of domestic-policy discussion. Nowhere is the gulf between Obama/Biden rhetoric and reality wider than in the arena of jobs.
Remember: Obama’s Ivy League eggheads behind the stimulus promised that “more than 90 percent of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector.” These are the same feckless economic advisers who infamously vowed that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent — and that unemployment would drop below 6 percent sometime this year.
Sheriff Joe rebuked the “naysayers” who decried the waste, fraud, and abuse in the behemoth stimulus program. “You know what? They were wrong,” he crowed.
But Biden was radio silent about the nearly 4,000 stimulus recipients who received $24 billion in Recovery Act funds — while owing more than $750 million in unpaid corporate, payroll, and other taxes. (Cash for Tax Cheats, anyone?)
He had nothing to say about the $6 billion in stimulus energy credits for homeowners — of which nearly a third of went to credit-claimers who had no record of homeownership, including minors and prisoners.
And the $530 million dumped into the profligate Detroit public schools for laptops and other computer equipment that have had little, if any, measurable academic benefits.
And the whopping $6.7 million cost per job under the $50 billion stimulus-funded green-energy loan program — which funded politically connected but now bankrupt solar firms Solyndra ($535 million), Abound Solar ($400 million), Beacon Power ($43 million), A123 ($250 million) and Ener1 ($119 million).
And the $1 million in stimulus cash that went to Big Bird and Sesame Street “to promote healthy eating,” which created a theoretical “1.47” jobs. (As Sean Higgins of the Examiner noted, “That comes out to about $726,000 per job created.”)
And the hundreds of millions in stimulus money steered to General Services Administrations junkets in Las Vegas and Hawaii, ghost congressional districts, dead people, infrastructure to nowhere, and ubiquitous stimulus-propaganda road signs stamped with the shovel-ready logo.
Of course, there’s no example of unfettered stimulus squandering more fitting than the one named after Keystone Fiscal Kop Joe Biden himself. Government-funded Amtrak’s station in Wilmington, Del., raked in $20 million in “recovery” money after heavy personal lobbying by the state’s most prominent customer and cheerleader. In return, the station (which came in $6 million over budget, according to the Washington Times) renamed its facility after Biden.
Bloated costs. Crony political narcissism. Glaring conflicts of interest. Monumental waste. This is the Obama/Biden stimulus legacy bequeathed to our children and their grandchildren. Sheriff Joe and his plundering boss need to be run out of town on a rail.