Albert Einstein purportedly stated, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Apparently, the Obama administration disagrees, especially in light of its new report claiming that the spending-upon-spending “stimulus” plan is on-time, under budget and relatively fraud- and abuse-free — other than sending $18 million to dead people, anyway. Moreover, the measure worked as planned, and the economy is back on track. No doubt it’ll be even more robust after even more government spending.
Silly us for believing that double-digit unemployment, depressed markets and unprecedented budget deficits are all indicators of an economy nowhere close to being “back on track.” Our mistake, it seems, was neglecting to use the “jobs-saved” new math that has been the hallmark of the Chosen Administration since its inception. White House officials touted the relatively small number of complaints — less than 2 percent in over 200,000 contract awards — as evidence of the success of the drunken-sailor spending program. We would like to offer a different explanation as to the paucity of complaints, namely, that few complain when a gift horse (read: big government) is throwing billions of dollars at them. Independent of the degree to which spending is “fraud-free,” it’s still spending.
On a completely unrelated note, tens of thousands of workers have just been shown the door, courtesy of the termination of stimulus-subsidized employment programs. A $5 billion program, “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families,” is drawing to an end, and with it approximately 250,000 more will hit the streets and unemployment lines, highlighting yet again that government does not produce jobs. Any jobs it claims to “produce” will both cost more and be less sustainable than would otherwise be true in the free market. Meanwhile, in September, another 95,000 jobs were lost.
In contrast, Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s Pollyanna-ish chief economist, stated that the report on stimulus spending affirms that “the recovery act has accomplished much of what it set out to do.” Sadly, we must agree: Hamstringing the free market while redistributing wealth to Democrat constituency groups? Check. Helping the economy to actually recover? Not so much.
And then we have;
The Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced last Friday that they are considering regulating fuel mileage for vehicles even further — to an eye-popping 62 mpg by 2025 — so that CO2 emissions per mile might possibly be reduced by 3 to 6 percent. The Associated Press reports, “The government envisions gas-electric hybrids making up about half the lineup of new vehicles under the most aggressive standards, while electrics and plug-ins would comprise about 10 percent of the fleet.” These changes would add about $3,500 to the price of every vehicle, though the government claims owners would save $7,400 over the vehicle’s lifetime.
Meanwhile, in the government’s version of Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner, the Obama administration appears to be simultaneously trying to “stimulate” interest in higher mileage vehicles by choking off oil supplies through dragging out its offshore drilling ban, which artificially drives up gas prices. We can only hope this scheme will blow up in the their face too. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is “reviewing” the moratorium just as Europe’s energy chief is considering putting a ban in place.
In other oil news, the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released a report on the federal response to April’s oil spill and, not surprisingly, the administration comes in for criticism. The report said, “The federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem.” That, in a nutshell, is the essence of Hope ‘n’ Change.