NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 18, 2010

On February 11th, President Barack Obama stood on a windy hilltop in front of a dusty construction site in Fairfax County, Virginia, and promised the American people: "Here in Virginia, my plan will create or save almost 100,000 jobs, doing work at sites just like this one."   Eleven months later, none of those promised jobs have been "created or saved," says the Heritage Foundation. 

The failure of Obama's $787 billion stimulus is particularly acute in Virginia where, despite $695 million in allocated infrastructure funding, only 16 percent of designated projects had begun.  Even where infrastructure spending has been spent, the hard evidence shows that there has not been any positive effect on unemployment.

  • According to an Associated Press (AP) analysis reviewed by independent economists at five universities, the $20 billion spent nationwide on infrastructure so far "has had no effect on local unemployment rates."
  • Since the first reporting deadline in October, newspapers and other media outlets across the country have identified 94,341 fake jobs reported by the Obama administration as jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus.
  • According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' report, the U.S. economy dropped 85,000 jobs in December, bringing the jobs lost total to 2.7 million since the stimulus was passed and 3.4 million since Obama became President. 

The problem with infrastructure spending as stimulus, and really government spending as stimulus, is that Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed.  More importantly, every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy.  No new spending power is created.  It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another, says Heritage. 

Businesses are telling pollsters that among the biggest reasons they are not creating jobs is the prospect of new tax and regulatory burdens.  A better solution to reduce unemployment is to simplify and reduce the barriers to business success, says Heritage. 

Source: Conn Carroll, "$787 Billion in Stimulus, Zero Jobs "Created or Saved," The Heritage Foundation, January 12, 2010. 

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