Remember those jobs that Porkulus “saved or created” with $787 billion in borrowed money — which the Obama administration has claimed as its big success in job creation? Most of them turned out to be illusory, but the New York Times says tens of thousands that actually exist will soon be coming to an end. Perhaps a better description might be … jobs rented or leased?
Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs within weeks unless Congress extends one of the more effective job-creating programs in the $787 billion stimulus act: a $1 billion New Deal-style program that directly paid the salaries of unemployed people so they could get jobs in government, at nonprofit organizations and at many small businesses.
Let’s stop here for a moment. If indeed this was as “effective” as the Times believes, the jobs wouldn’t have to disappear when the subsidies expire. These jobs didn’t get created as much as they got propped up. They were temp jobs, and like any temp job, the contract ends when the money stops.
That’s the problem with starting programs like these. There is no end point for them once they get started. When exactly are taxpayers supposed to stop propping up jobs that wouldn’t exist without government subsidies? The recession ended over a year ago. Massive subsidies and make-work “shovel ready” projects aren’t solving the real problem, which is that consumers don’t want to spend and businesses won’t expand, thanks to massive uncertainties created by out-of-control government spending and massive expansion of the regulatory regimes in the US whose rules aren’t at all clear.
Plus, let’s not forget either, $4 trillion in tax hikes are still hanging like a sword of Damocles over the economy, thanks to inaction by Congress.
The money that pays Mr. Davis’s salary, and the salaries of tens of thousands of other people around the country, will dry up after next Thursday, when the welfare program in the stimulus act that pays the bills for those jobs is set to expire. While the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to extend the program, they are meeting stiff resistance from Republicans, many of whom oppose all things stimulus.
Readers might be excused if they think that this comes from a Times editorial or opinion column, but it doesn’t; this appears in the U.S. section of the Gray Lady. The reason why Republicans oppose “all things stimulus” like this program is rather obvious — it doesn’t work. It’s very much like the New Deal programs that Michael Cooper extols in his lead. It spends government money that gets taken out of the capital market where it might create sustainable jobs and creates make-work positions that have no real support other than the government subsidies.
If the program worked, no one would notice the disappearing subsidies, because the jobs would stand on their own.
The mayor of one Tennessee city diagnoses the problem accurately:
“It was very much a Band-Aid,” said Mayor Robby J. Moore of Lobelville, Tenn. “And now the Band-Aid is coming off.”
We don’t need an interminable series of Band-Aids. We need to stop the Beltway spending spree and reverse the regulatory expansion of the federal government to get actual, sustainable job creation in the private sector instead of more bureaucrats and temp jobs subsidized by taxpayers.