Saturday, February 27, 2010

Believe it: Somebody got a stimulus job!

SO MY CONSERVATIVE friends are sitting there at lunch and insisting that the economic stimulus program - I will take this slowly in hopes of getting it right - "has not created a single job." That's the line that John Boehner and others have passed down from Mt. Olympus to be repeated without challenge - or thought, for that matter. It's probably tucked down on line No. 3 or 4 on the ways that President Obama will be defeated in 2012.

Well, with all due respect to these friends who will not take "no" for an answer, I'd say, "Nice try for your side, but you have nothing to back you up".

That's where we are today in America's great debate on the economy. One friend even argues that a laid-off worker who is called back and returned to the payroll doesn't count. Oh? I' ll leave that to the family of the reemployed worker to figure out. A job is a job is a job. I have also been advised that money should be going to infrastructure rather than hiring a few cops or firefighters or teachers. Or adding to entitlements.

A few tidbits: In Akron alone, about $20 million of the Federal money from the stimulus will be spent on roads and bridges and such. By last fall 17,000 jobs had been created in Ohio. It is far from boom times, but there have been some improvements.

Infrastructure and energy? A friend who drove from Columbus to Denver said she was impressed by the number of wind turbines that had sprung up along the route. Since then, the New York Times reported that the "American wind power industry grew at a blistering pace in 2009, adding 39 pct. more capacity. The American Wind Energy Assn. noted in its annual report that the growth of wind power was "helped by the federal stimulus package that passed a year ago, which extended tax credit and provided other investment incentives for the industry. It's only a guess, but might I assume that one or two more jobs were added?

It doesn't take much time or effort to find this information, folks. For whatever it's worth. The mess left by the last guy in the Oval Office is far from cleaned up. But there are signs here and there that you can't ignore, that we may have pulled back a little from the brink. On the other hand, if we had played the Republican card and benignly neglected the illness, what might we have expected? Well, what?


Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart's tantrum that government workers shouldn't be represented by unions will hardly make life easier for him. One doesn't have to support nor deny the validity of such unions to know that they are here to stay, so you might as well try to make the most of it instead of calling for their abolition. Problem-solving comes with the mayor's territory. Can you imagine the howl from City Hall if the unions called for the abolition of the mayor's office? See what I mean? Back into the sandbox, mayor.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a fellow named Daniel Stout was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives recently to replace a guy who resigned after it was disclosed that he had an affair with a lobbyist. Stout, a family values Republican, is the same pol who earlier admitted to having an extra-marital affair with his first wife's mother-in-law. Some Georgia peaches are obviously sweeter than others. So much for mother-in-law jokes!

Recommended reading: Frank Rich's column in today's New York Times that delivers the goods on the off-the-page right-wing movement that is a raggedly loose confederation of anti-government Tea Partiers, white supremacists, armed militia and the resurgent John Birch Society. Anarchy is in the wind.

Finally, I happened to see a TV commercial promoting something called "Meaningful Beauty." Am I suffering from generational lag or what? Is there something about beauty that I don't understand and wouldn't regard as meaningful?


Anonymous said...

Well spoken on the "no stimulus jobs" lie -- and it is nothing but a lie. Classic Republican attempt to both have their own opinions AND their own "facts."

The Rich column was dead on. The RW Echo Chamber will be in fits this week complaining about "demonization" by the far left. The American Taliban are organizing as we speak for their planned insurrection. Best we pay attention now rather than later!

marvkatz said...

Your friend could have seen LOTS more windmills if she'd headed north into Wyoming. Interesting, in a state that has big coal reserves.

And if Rich's column gives you pause, check out David Barstow's NYTimes piece to which Rich refers. It's at

PJJinOregon said...

Following adjournment of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party (aka CPAC), the talking heads are energized to continue the Queen's refrain: "Words mean what I want them to mean" and "Off with their heads."

Anonymous said...

When conservatives say the government doesn't create jobs, they are referring to the fact that every dollar the government spends is taken out of the private sector. That is money individuals and businesses could use to invest in capital projects, hire new workers, etc. Therefore, whenever the government spends money there is an opprunity cost. And I don't think anyone could deny that the private sector spends money more productively than the public sector.

Just looks at the stories from across the country on stimulus money being wasted...$600,000 to hire two temporary workers in Rhode Island, $800,000 to create 4 temporary jobs in Michigan, etc. Sure jobs were created.....but at what economic cost????

Was the stimulus plan a success? It certainly didn't live up to the promises of the Obama adminstration of capping unemployment at 8%.