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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
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  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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