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.

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