By Hans Bader
The federal government’s $800 billion stimulus package, which failed to cut unemployment, is now forcing states and local governments to raise taxes. The Wall Street Journal describes how “stimulus dollars came with strings attached that are now causing enormous budget headaches . . . At the behest of the public employee unions, Congress imposed ‘maintenance of effort’ spending requirements on states. These federal laws prohibit state legislatures from cutting spending on 15 programs,” such as ”welfare, if the state took even a dollar of stimulus cash,” even if a state’s tax revenue has since fallen due to the recession. “So when states should be reducing” their spending ”to match. . . lower revenue collections, federal stimulus rules mean many states will have little choice but to raise taxes.”
Obama claimed the stimulus package was needed to prevent the economy from suffering from “irreversible decline,” but the Congressional Budget Office admitted that the stimulus package actually would shrink the economy “in the long run.” Unemployment has skyrocketed past European levels, as big-spending countries have fared worse than thrifty ones.
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The Washington Examiner says that “75,000 jobs” Obama has claimed credit for are “clearly imaginary” or “highly doubtful.” That includes thousands of jobs the administration claims credit for creating in nonexistent Congressional districts. As the Examiner notes:
If his stimulus program was approved, Obama promised, unemployment would not go above 8 percent this year. The reality is that it passed 10.3 percent in October. So now the stimulus books are being cooked to mollify an anxious public worried that real-world jobs continue to disappear and angry that Obama has thrown almost $1 trillion down the stimulus rathole.
The stimulus package actually destroyed thousands of real world jobs by triggering trade wars with Canada and Mexico that killed jobs in America’s export sector (the stimulus package barred a measley 97 Mexican truckers from U.S. roads, a minor NAFTA violation that led to massive Mexican retaliation against U.S. exports of 40 farm products and kitchen goods worth $2.4 billion). It also is wiping out jobs by inflicting costly mandates on state governments (such as repealing welfare reform, and imposing costly “prevailing wage” regulations and expensive racial set-asides).
The stimulus package has since spawned countless examples of government waste and corruption. Recently, Obama fired an inspector general, Gerald Walpin, who uncovered millions of dollars of waste and fraud in the AmeriCorps program, including by a prominent Obama supporter, endangering the Obama supporter’s ability to administer federal stimulus spending in Sacramento. Obama’s alleged justification for firing the inspector general turned out to be false.