Stimulus Funds: Not at all a wasteful failure 2012.08.08

Written by David Green.

I’m not much of a television watcher which means that I’m generally not up to date on celebrities and what they’re doing, nor do I know the disturbing news accounts from Toledo that people enjoy discussing. On the flip side, I never see any TV advertising, so it’s a pretty good tradeoff.

Twice in the last week, however, I was out visiting and watched some Olympic competition—along with the endless flow of political ads.

At my first visit, I watched an ad about the wasteful American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and I got a little laugh out of it. Billions of dollars blown, no jobs created, etc. I knew better than that.

At my next visit, the same ad played again and this time it got a little annoying. It wasn’t just the ridiculous claims about overseas investments and billions of dollars wasted—claims that have been proven to be extremely misleading and in some cases incorrect—but the entire notion that the the so-called “stimulus program” was a wasteful failure.

Don’t tell that to the Fulton County Commissioners who gladly took $3.1 million in stimulus funds for the construction of a waterline to Metamora, Lyons and the northeast portion of the county. I doubt if they see that money going to waste, and the many construction workers involved in the project would likely agree.

It’s the same story in Fayette where stimulus funds covered badly needed repairs to the sewage treatment system lift station, and the same story in Morenci where federal funding covered most of the parking lot project. In both cases, the projects help keep workers on the job during tough economic times.

Road work was completed in Archbold and in Waldron, an energy efficiency program was undertaken at Sauder Woodworking, law enforcement in Wauseon benefitted, the Fulton County Health Department used funding for its Infants and Families program. Morenci’s Stair Public Library will soon receive new made-in-America computers.

Every school district in the area benefitted from stimulus money for “fiscal stabilization”—funds to prevent layoffs and keep teachers in the classrooms as state funding plummeted.

There’s no question that many stimulus projects did not create jobs, but that wasn’t always the intent and it certainly doesn’t equate to failure. 

Take away the politics and the misleading advertisements and you’ll find many grateful municipal and school leaders who have plenty of good to say about the President’s effort to keep the country moving when it seemed to be on the brink of financial collapse.

The criticism that many leading economists make is that the stimulus program ended where it did. They’re disappointed there wasn’t even more spending to stimulate a shaky economy.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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