The Magazine

What Stimulus?

May 21, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 34 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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What’s more, whatever minimal success the “stimulus” might have had, it’s clearly not sustainable. As of the third quarter of 2010, the “stimulus” had supposedly created or saved 2.7 million jobs. As of the second quarter of 2011 (the last quarter for which the administration has released results), the Obama economists were claiming to have created or saved only 2.2 million jobs. Over that span of nine months, half a million jobs have disappeared while the costs kept rising, as another $130 billion went out the door. 

As abysmal as this record is, the real performance of the stimulus is probably even worse. After all, one would hardly consider the White House Council of Economic Advisers to be the most unbiased reviewer of the legislation’s effects. Still, when the numbers from Obama’s own economists imply that the economy would now be generating job growth at a faster rate if the stimulus had never been passed, that’s an eye-opening indictment of one of President Obama’s two centerpiece initiatives.

Maybe that’s why, instead of highlighting the stimulus (or Obamacare or much of anything else in his tenure as president), Obama told his supporters in the partially filled basketball arena in Columbus, “If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope. You tell them it’s still about change.” It’s probably also why he added, “I’m asking you to keep believing in me. I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man, and I would never be a perfect president.” And it’s presumably why he said, “The real question .  .  . is not just about how we’re doing today. It’s about how we’ll be doing tomorrow.” He also declared, “We have to move forward, to the future we imagined in 2008. .  .  . That’s why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States.”

That may be why Obama is running again. But that’s no reason for us to be foolish enough to elect him again.

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