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U.S. unemployment rate hits 10.2 percent

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Good grief.  7 Months After Stimulus 49 of 50 States Have Lost Jobs

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T shirt from OMama!Obama?

America Now Over 6 Million Jobs Shy of Administration’s Projections

The table below compares the White House’s February 2009 projection of the number of jobs that would be created by the 2009 stimulus law (through the end of 2010) with the actual change in state payroll employment through September 2009 (the latest figures available).  According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since stimulus was enacted.  Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus.

stimulus job losses

Why this epic fail? The Myth of the Multiplier.

Reality bites one politician.

Another stimulus in the offing? Lawmakers Weigh Measures to Spur Hiring, Short of a Second Stimulus

H/T Instapundit

It’s in the eye of the beholder.  $2.3 million in federal stimulus money is going to pay for Tampa Bay area beauty school tuition

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More than $2.3 million in federal economic stimulus grants have gone to eight Tampa Bay area cosmetology and massage schools to pay tuition for the hairdressers, masseuses and nail technicians of tomorrow.

That’s swell news for those who see the beauty trades as a way to gain a firmer footing in the job market. But is there truly demand for more beauty school graduates at bay area salons?

Not really, said Monica Ponce, owner of Muse The Salon in Tampa.

“Instead of encouraging more people to go to beauty schools,” Ponce said, “they should probably help the stylists who are unemployed.”…

Silly rabbit, the money’s meant to grow entitlement programs, pay off special interest groups and make more people love government intervention.

…The stimulus money is being paid to  beauty schools in the form of Pell Grants, which are awarded to low-income students. The grants don’t have to be repaid.

The government doesn’t allocate the money based on an assessment of what kinds of job skills are in demand. Rather, students apply to the government for the grants and if eligible can put the money toward the vocational school, college or university to which they’ve been accepted.

The government sends the grant money directly to schools.

The stimulus bill includes $17 billion to boost the Pell Grant program and raise the maximum annual award from $4,731 to $5,350.

See?  The stimulus is working — it’s saving all those Pell Grant bureaucrats’ and beauty school teaching jobs, along with the other half a million jobs Vice President Joe Biden takes credit for saving.

Good article by Victor Davis Hanson, The Power of Payback:

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…The Greeks remind us that when success and bounty arrive, then, especially, it is time to be self-effacing, modest, generous, and forgiving. If not, retribution follows—whether because human nature dictates that the crowd wishes misfortune upon the haughty, or, as I confess that I believe, there is a sort of divine force that seeks to remind us of our own folly and can only do that in appropriately dramatic and timely fashion.

If it were true that the financial meltdown of last September and the tough time in Iraq were reminders to the Bush administration that once around 2003, coming off Wall Street surges and easy victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, they should have calmed down, and treaded softly (rather than ‘mission accomplished’ and ‘bring ‘em on’), so too Obama should have feared the goddess last winter…

Much more at the link.

Obama Stimulus Spending Includes Rental Cars, Outhouses, and ‘Sediment Removal’

Among the many things that have been built with stimulus money so far are:

– $971,711.42 to “replace pond liners” at the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery in Cole Harbor, N.D.

– $193,077 for a “double-vault toilet building” at the Hoyer Campground in Spokane, Wash.

– $487,944 for “toilet buildings and vaults” in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests

– $254,000 for “pre-fabricated restroom facilities” in Atlanta, Ga.

– $17,110 in hotel bills at a Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va., for the Employment Standards Administration’s annual “Prevailing Wage Conference.”

– $1.8 million for the “renovation of Slate Hill Barn and Hay Shed” in Front Royal, Va. According to the database the money was requested by the Smithsonian Institution.

And these gems:

– $326,304 for “roadside vegetation removal” in the Six Rivers National Forest in Eureka, Calif.

– $928,194.50 to nine different firms to provide an “increased level of effort for dtv [digital television] installation”

– $20 million for “sediment removal” at the EPA’s Iron Mountain Mine Superfund site

– $6,066.18 to buy “three laptop computers” for the National Fish and Wildlife Service

– $4,250 for “short-term vehicle rental” from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in order to “run errands” in Kings Canyon National Park in King’s Canyon, Calif.

– $840 to “disassemble” one desk and “properly reassemble and relocate” 2 other desks in Reston, Va.

Much more of what our grandchildren have been beggared for at the link.

Not only won’t jobs created by the stimulus last very long, they cost taxpayers a fortune.  From the Foundry, $413.6 Million in Stimulus for 34 Full Time Jobs

…So far, a total of 50 jobs have been created by the funding, 34 of them full time. The OES will be headed by a director whom Gov. John Lynch has not yet appointed. All five OES jobs are described as full-time temporary positions that will go out of existence in September 2011, the end of the federal fiscal year.

More at the link.

A meeting of the minds from both ends of the political spectrum:  When Do We Get That Job ‘Surge’?

Presidents generally enjoy a honeymoon both because the public wants their presidents to succeed and because in the early stages of a presidency the mistakes, lies, and screw-ups have not yet materialized. But soon they do. And in the case of this presidency, the non-stimulus plan is proving to be the equivalent of the first serious fight between the newlyweds.

The stimulus plan was bad policy, poorly conceived and oversold. It isn’t working, yet the president insists his policy was perfect. The result now is a surprising agreement between the Left and Right.

On the Left, Bob Herbert chimes in:

“Vice President Joe Biden told us this week that the Obama administration “misread how bad the economy was” in the immediate aftermath of the inauguration. Puh-leeze. Mr. Biden and President Obama won the election because the economy was cratering so badly there were fears we might be entering another depression. No one understood that better than the two of them. Mr. Obama tried to clean up the vice president’s remarks by saying his team hadn’t misread what was happening, but rather “we had incomplete information.”

On the Right, House Minority Leader John Boehner calls foul:

“I found it … interesting over the last couple of days to hear Vice President Biden and the president mention the fact that they didn’t realize how difficult an economic circumstance we were in. … Now this is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I’ve been in Congress. I’ve sat in meetings in the White House with the vice president and the president. There’s not one person that sat in those rooms that didn’t understand how serious our economic crisis was.”

Hmm. We have consensus. And the president has a problem, both on policy and on credibility.

Much more at the link.

H/T Instapundit

A marriage made in hell.  Maybe We’d See Some “Green Shoots” if the Government Would Stop Stomping on Them

Here’s an example: Recently, there have been changes to the Cobra laws that grew out of the stimulus package. The government site that explains the program is 22 pages long, hard to follow, and didn’t answer all of my questions, but it was the best I could find.

As I understand it, there are two basic changes: First, employees who initially turned down Cobra have another chance to say yes (if they became eligible for it after Sept. 8). Second, business owners who have more than 20 employees and offer health insurance are now required to lay out 65 percent of any Cobra payments for employees who qualify for the benefits (this, too, applies to employees who took Cobra after Sept. 8). In addition, employers also must collect the 35 percent that employees still have to pay.

This represents a significant new burden to small businesses. Yes, the government will eventually reimburse employers for these Cobra payments through payroll tax credits. But that can take months.

Let’s think about what’s happening here. There is an assumption that an employee who is laid off is going to need help making those Cobra payments, and that may well be the case. But what about the employer? If a company is laying off people, there’s a pretty good chance it’s losing money. Possibly a lot of money. In some cases, it may be fighting desperately just to stay in business.

From CNBC:

America isn’t hiring precisely because of government policy. Small business owners, who are usually the first into and the first out of the job pool, are standing by the fence and watching. They are paralyzed by regulatory uncertainty. If they hire someone who ends up doing poorly, will they be able to fire that person? Will they have to pay their health care bills after they’ve been terminated? If so, for how long? Who will pay for all these stimulus checks? If it will turn out to be small business, why would they hire instead of keeping costs low to prepare for the big tax bill? Where will the market move? Are you in the right business or are your clients in a politically disfavored industry? . . . Jobs aren’t languishing despite the government’s best efforts. They’re languishing because of them.

More at the link.

H/T Instapundit

Well, gee whiz, the stimulus is a total fail in another area:  Electric Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study

The stimulus law enacted in February promoted the purchase of plug-in electric cars by the federal government and the broader market, but a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month says that the use of plug-in electric vehicles will not by itself decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

To do that, the report argues, the United States would have to switch from coal-burning plants to lower-emission sources to generate electricity such as nuclear power.

“If you are using coal fired power plants and half the country’s electricity comes from coal powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas emitter for another?”
Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues told CNSNews.com.

The report found that the adoption of plug-in cars could result in benefits, including reduced petroleum consumption and dependency.

But it concedes that in regions of the country heavily reliant on coal for power generation, electric plug-in vehicles will not result in a decrease in green house gas emissions.

“Reduction in CO2 emissions depend on generating electricity used to charge the vehicles from lower-emission sources of energy,” GAO reported.

“For plug-ins to reach their full potential, electricity would need to be generated from lower-emission fuels such as nuclear and renewable energy rather than the fossil fuels–coal and natural gas–used most often to generate electricity today.”

So the anticipated results will only occur after a major overhaul of electricity production in the country.  Good going, Congress, signing bills without reading them and considering the consequences.

Congress didn’t read the stimulus bill before voting on it, and Democrats want to repeat history with cap and tax and health care rationing:  Will Congress Read Bills Before Voting?

Last month, when Republicans tried to stall energy legislation with hundreds of amendments, Democrats hired a speed reader to get through them all. Now, with Democratic leadership barreling through its hefty agenda this summer, it looks as if the speed reader’s services may be needed once more.

Various grassroots organizations are blasting Congress for not taking the time to properly consider the energy bill or health care reform — two very significant pieces of legislation.

The latest word is that the cap and tax bill, which was 946 pages, has mysteriously grown to 1,201 pages, and nobody knows why, except a chosen few:

“The fastest speed-readers and the most intelligent minds can’t make informed decisions with that much time. How can Congress?” Sunlight Foundation Engagement Director Jake Brewer said today in a statement. “The problem here is the bill wasn’t developed in the open in a committee, so no one — including those members of Congress not on the Energy Committee — knows how this latest version was created.”

…”Legislation has become so complex, you can really make the arugment the system the framers devised is broken,” he said. “Most bills are voted upon without those voting understanding much of what’s in it.”

That’s when members are forced to resort to speed readers. “It makes a mockery of the process,” Hanna said.

No kidding.  But Congress is not forced to use speed readers.  They did that to pay lip service to the concept of open government.