Today marks the 3-year anniversary of President Obama signing his nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill into law. A report from Obama economic advisors Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein in early 2009 claimed that if the stimulus passed, unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. And their now-famous chart showed that by now, unemployment was supposed to be down to 6% with the stimulus bill’s passage and 7% without it. Barely a week after the bill was signed, Vice President Joe Biden boasted, “this is about getting this out and spent in 18 months to create 3.5 million jobs and to tee this up so the rest of the good work that’s being done here literally drop-kicks us out of this recession . . . .”
Yet three years later, the unemployment rate has been higher than 8% for 36 months. The average duration of unemployment was 40.1 weeks as of January. Over half a million jobs have been lost since the stimulus was signed, and millions have been lost since the recession began. Clearly the stimulus did not live up to the Obama administration’s promises.
And while the stimulus, which added nearly $1 trillion to the debt, was failing to “drop-kick” the country out of recession, the Obama administration was using money made available in the legislation to finance disasters like Solyndra. Just this week, in an article titled, “Federal funds flow to clean-energy firms with Obama administration ties,” The Washington Post reported, “With the 2008 economic crisis, new private investment in fledgling clean-tech companies withered. But passage of the $787 billion stimulus package offered new opportunities to launch and grow those firms, with $80 billion set aside for clean energy and energy-efficiency efforts. Suddenly flush with cash, the Energy Department was under orders to ramp up quickly and get money out to promising companies. The administration tapped industry players to take on key Energy Department roles, both as agency staffers and outside advisers on agency boards.” The result? “Overall, the Post found that $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.”
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