Bogus Stimulus; Real Corruption

I outlined in my last post why stimulus doesn’t work. This begs the question; why do the “best economic minds” in Washington swear by it then? Why do politicians love it? It’s simple; power.

In my last post, I showed what happens when the government builds a bridge-to-stimulus somewhere, how much it costs, and how it doesn’t add up mathematically. What I didn’t say is what is in it for the government, given that they have to know it doesn’t work.

What the politicians get is very simple; they get to be the one who “gives” us a bridge-to-stimulus. They get to be Santa Claus, handing out “free” jobs, “saving or creating” all kinds of paper jobs while the real economy sinks.

Another thing the government gets out of stimulus is control. Some bureaucrat has to be in charge of the “bridge-to-stimulus project, has to set regulations, has to write the project up, has to push all the paper. Bureaucrats are what they are because they don’t want to compete in the private market, so they need projects that the private market would never contemplate in order to have work. They also want power, which means bigger staffs and budgets. In order to keep increasing the size of their staffs and budgets, they have to keep expanding what the government does.

Politicians, particularly Democrats, benefit directly from all this. Democrats get a cut of all union dues from public employee union members. That means they are in charge of decisions to expand budgets that pay wages that become union dues and Democratic party contributions. This is a self-reinforcing cycle. Thus, Democrats who take campaign contributions from public employee unions really should recuse themselves from any decision that will increase bureaucrat staff numbers (which is almost any decision in Washington).

Roosevelt set up a very nice system that kept Democrats in possession of Congress for decades. He would send in his political advisor to check out a district and find out if any big projects could be built in the area; it would then be spread around all the relief offices that if everybody voted “the right way”, this project would be built. Roosevelt would get some local paper to do an article about the project, and would get himself and a local Democrat politician in the piece. The idea was simple and would be repeated endlessly in election campaigns; “you vote Republican, this big bridge-to-stimulus does not come to town, if you vote Democrat, it will”.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is corruption.

The math of stimulus doesn’t work for the US economy, but it does do one thing very effectively; it takes money from everybody and focuses it on one, lucky group. The ability to play favorites allows politicians to target a strategic district, state, or area, and follow the game plan laid down by Roosevelt in the New Deal Era. If you vote for us, you get free stuff. Of course, nothing is free, somebody is paying for it. In this case, we will all pay for the stimulus as the dollar loses value. This will hurt most the poor families that the Democrats have ironically, spent the most time courting.

There is an entire ecology of creepy crawly things that have evolved in the murky waters under Capitol Hill. They feed on “stimulus”; they need the flow to grow, not contract. That is why something that 80% of the American people do not want to happen will be approved by people who theoretically have to answer to those people. Stimulus feeds a political system of gerrymandered districts, union-fueled party machines, corrupt local officials, and a culture of complete cynicism on the part of our elected officials. In order to fix the economy, we need to stop the stimulus, but we also need to stop it in order to reform Washington.

Remember that when November ’10 and ’12 comes around. This isn’t about creating jobs for blue-collar workers, the stimulus is about creating jobs for government employees who send a kickback to the party machine.

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~ by Jubal Biggs on July 21, 2010.

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