Where’s The Stimulus And Why Do We Need Any More Of It Anyway?

Remember the urgency?

So, this pork packed $1 trillion, plus interest, “stimulus” bill just had to be passed immediately, before anyone could even read it, to save the economy from disaster. Well, it’s more than three months later, just how much of this urgently needed $1 trillion in “stimulus” money has actually been spent so far?

Obama upbeat about stimulus, but not much has been spent

“Only a small part” of the nation’s $787 billion economic stimulus had been spent through the end of last month, according to congressional analysts, despite the Obama administration’s boasts Wednesday that the plan is a big success.

“One hundred days later, we are already seeing results,” President Barack Obama said during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

“Across America, recovery is under way,” Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement accompanying a 28-page progress report.

However, Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, was more cautious in his “State of the Economy” review to the House Budget Committee last week.

“The economy will stop contracting and resume growing during the second half of this year,” he said, “but the hardships caused by the recession will persist for some time.”

The CBO report found that through April only about $19 billion in stimulus funds has been spent.

The Results Are In: Stimulus Bill Neither Timely Nor Targeted

Before the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the “stimulus bill”), President Obama and his chief economic advisor, Larry Summers, stressed that the government’s response to the economic crisis needed to be “timely, targeted, and temporary.” As predicted by a Heritage Foundation analyst,[1] the bill is neither timely nor targeted. Only time will tell if it is temporary.

Not Timely

Government agencies have spent only a tiny fraction of money planned to be spent in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Moreover, agencies have not allocated most of the money that has been directed toward them for any named projects.

As of May 8, less than 8 percent of the spending scheduled for fiscal years ’09 and ’10 has taken place.[2] That 8 percent ($37 billion) had been spent almost entirely on Health and Human Services until the week of May 1, when $12 billion was spent in one week by the Department of Labor. Before the week of May 1, just 3.3 percent of scheduled ’09 and ’10 spending had occurred.

Of the $461 billion called for to be spent by the stimulus bill before the end of fiscal year 2010, just $37 billion has been doled out. Of that, $16 billion has been spent by the Health and Human Services department, $12 billion has been spent by the Department of Labor, and $6 billion has been issued in one-time payments to Social Security recipients. All of the other agencies combined have spent a total of $2.6 billion as of May 8.

Not Targeted

Fiscal year 2010 ends September 30, 2010, but the recession could end sooner than that. Indeed, a majority of economists surveyed in April predicted the recession will end in 2009.[3] Fed chairman Ben Bernanke also thinks the recession will end this year. The stimulus bill threatens to miss the very target it was meant to address.

Spending to fight an already-ended recession is unnecessary and wasteful. More diffusely, the specific spending programs targeted to fight the recession have mostly not been named.

Of the $461 billion of the stimulus bill the President’s budget blueprint says will be spent in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, just $102 billion has even been targeted for specific outlays by government agencies. Once again, a large amount of this sum is allocated by the Health and Human Services Department. Several agencies (such as the Agency for International Development, NASA, and the National Science Foundation) have yet to say how any of the billions of dollars granted to them by the act will be spent. Just 22 percent of the fiscal years 2009 and 2010 stimulus spending has been planned by government agencies.[4]

The New Keynesianism

The new Keynesian philosophy fashionable among Washington policymakers is that government spending can pull an economy out of recession–that government spending “injects” new demand into the economy, thereby increasing GDP.

But every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. Rather than add new demand, government spending merely redistributes existing demand. Even transferring money from savers to spenders will not add new demand, because nearly all savings are banked or invested and then quickly made available for someone else to spend. Simply put, Congress cannot create new demand out of thin air, and this explains the repeated failure of Keynesian policies.

See also:
Very Little Stimulus Spending So Far
Economic Stimulus: How Much Has Been Spent So Far?
How Much of the Stimulus Money Has Been Spent? Not Much!
Obama, GOP Battle Over Impact Of Stimulus
Obama’s stimulus: First 100 days, ‘spin?’
Watchdog: Stimulus spending a corruption risk
What Is Congress Stimulating?
See If You Can Read It Before Congress Passes It

No matter who’s doing the counting, it’s pretty clear that it’s been over three months now and hardly any of this desperately needed $1 trillion has even been spent yet, a drop in the ocean, spit in a bucket. Surely not an amount that anyone can seriously claim, with a straight face, is doing anything to “stimulate” the U.S. $13+ trillion GDP economy. And how has this trivial amount of Democrat pork spending been spent so far, what important uses has it been put to? Let’s ask Joe Biden.

RECOVERY REPORT: 100 DAYS 100 PROJECTS

Here’s a random sample of what your taxpayer money (borrowed, but you’ll have to pay for it eventually, with interest) is being spent on in the name of desperately needed “stimulus”:

Supporting Communities:17. Darlington County, South Carolina, will be the location of a new 4,200 square-foot library supported in part by $787,000 of Recovery Act Community Facility Grant funding. This new library, located in the town of Society Hill, will replace an existing 850 square-foot building, and provide for the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the 4,000 residents who live in the greater Society Hill area of Darlington County. Isolated from larger libraries by 17 miles in either direction, the Society Hill library supports junior and high school students research needs, as well as adults who use the library’s resources for help in locating jobs, for instructions on constructing a resume, and for submitting their resumes electronically.

Direct Farm Loans:18. With the assistance provided by a Farm Service Agency (FSA) USDA Stimulus Beginning Farmer operating loan, Chang Suhn Lee and his wife Soon Oak have been able to expand their farm in Coalmont, Tennessee, both keeping a family farm operating and keeping up with a growing demand for their crops. Combined with a USDA Direct Farm Ownership Loan the Lees received in 2007, they have expanded their vegetable farm from seven acres to 45 acres in 2009.

Direct Farm Loans:19. David and Katherine Pyle, both raised on dairy farms, recently sought to start their own diary operation and saw a classified advertisement to purchase cows and lease a dairy facility in Augusta County, Virginia. Working with the Farm loan team and using Recovery Act funding, the Pyles were able to work out a loan and started the lease on their new farm on April 1st. Using Recovery Act funds to purchase cows, breed heifers and provided start-up and operating capital, the Pyles now own and manage a growing dairy operation.

Direct Farm Loans: 20. Norman and Ida Layne, along with their son Avery, of Cullen, Virginia, received two direct operating loans supported by Recovery Act funds for their family dairy and hog farm. The combined loans will help support direct operating expenses of the farm, as well as prior fee, repair and veterinary expenses, and will allow the Laynes to be able to keep the family farm for their son. Without the assistance of Recovery Act funds, the Laynes would have had to sell the family farm.

Supporting Communities:21. Ecumenical Faith In Action, Inc., in Washington County, Virginia, is the recipient of $50,000 in Community Facility Grant funding through the Recovery Act. With this funding, Ecumenical Faith in Action will add approximately 5,300 square feet to its food-distribution center. Their existing facility does not have any walk-in freezers or coolers — or even a loading dock. All frozen food is stored in approximately 25 residential type chest freezers. The addition will help alleviate these problems.

Hey, there’s 95 more “projects”, most just as worthless. Read the whole thing. And remember, this pork spending is just barely out of the starting gate, there’s about $950 billion more to flush down the toilet on unneeded Democrat pet projects like this that we can’t afford in the first place. And has anyone noticed that, despite this non-stimulative, wasteful pork spending, the economy is starting to recover anyway and most economists predict that the recession will be over by the end of this year?

Economists: Recession to end in 2009

The end of the recession is in sight, according to a new survey of leading economists.

While the economy is showing signs of stabilizing, the recovery will be more moderate than is typical following a severe downturn, said the National Association for Business Economics Outlook in a report released Wednesday.

The panel of 45 economists said it expects economic growth will rebound in the second half of 2009. However, the group still expects to see a decline in second-quarter economic activity.

“The good news is that the NABE panel expects economic growth to turn positive in the second half of this year, with the pace of job losses narrowing sharply over the remainder of this year and employment turning up in early 2010,” said NABE president Chris Varvares in a written statement.

Almost three out of four survey respondents expect the recession will end by the third quarter of 2009, the report said.

But 19% predicted that a turnaround won’t come until the fourth quarter, and 7% said it may not come until early 2010. None of the panelists expected the recession to continue past the first quarter of next year.

See also:
Will the recession end in 2009?
U.S. Recession May Soon End, Business Economists Say (Update1)
Economists hope US recession will end in 2009
Survey: Most economists see recession end in ’09
Geithner Says Economy Stabilizing, at ‘Beginning’ of Recovery

Let’s recap. We had to have a $1 trillion pork spending bill shoved down our throats, before anyone could even read it, in order to pull the economy out of a deep recession. But, the tiny fraction of the $1 trillion that’s been actually spent so far, more than three months later, isn’t enough to “stimulate” the economy in any meaningful way and has been spent on a variety of Democrat pet project pork nonsense that we don’t need and had to borrow the money for. Furthermore, in spite of this wasteful spending, the economy is recovering all by itself, and the economic consensus is that the U.S. will be out of this recession in about six months!

Now, you may ask yourself, if the purpose of the “stimulus” was to pull the economy out of the recession and, despite the “stimulus”, the economy will be out of the recession before the end of the year, why the [expletive deleted] do we need to spend another $950 billion of borrowed money, that we’ll have to pay interest on, on shameful, useless pork?

Of course, the obvious answer is that we don’t. In fact, all this additional, unnecessary pork “stimulus” spending will do nothing besides massively increase U.S. deficits and debt, trigger higher interest rates and inflation, increase the size of government and crowd out private sector investment. In other words, it’ll be a huge drag on economic growth and the debt albatross we’ll soon have around our necks could conceivably break the U.S. economy itself. If Obama and the Democrat Congress had any honor or shame they’d immediately repeal all the unspent portions of the “stimulus” bill still in the pipeline, in the name of fiscal responsibility and the American taxpayer, generations present and future.

/but they won’t do that because stimulating the economy wasn’t their objective in the first place, Obama and the Democrats could care less about the economy or the taxpayers, what they’re after is raw power, an expanded government, and the votes to hang onto it in 2010

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