After a brief hiatus, Blawgconomics is back up and running. If anyone is curious, we decided to take a little time off during what was, at various times, billed as 'Snowmaggedon,' 'Snowpocalypse,' and finally, 'Snoverkill' as the nation's capitol barely survived a 12-rounder with Mother Nature. No comment on whether or not global warming is responsible for the four to five foot drifts currently residing on the sidewalks outside the White House.
However, the vacation is over, and today we will revisit an old friend, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Although Blawgconomics has been critical of the legislation in the past, proponents of the bill often stress the need to be patient when analyzing its merits. And rightly so. Opponents of the plan were always going to take too short-term a view of the situation in criticizing lawmakers and the Obama administration. Hopefully short-termism is the only issue that the plan faces, as little benefit was felt heading into the final quarter of 2009. However, discussion of the stimulus package has recently reached a new fever pitch of partisanship as some on the right are using lack of progress on the economy as a proxy for poor leadership by Democrats, and denisons of the left make somewhat disengenuious claims that opponents of the bill are unintelligent at best or liars at worst.
It is not our intent (for today at least) to beat a stimulus package while it is down, but we would like to point to a story that has been making its rounds after this gem was written post-State of the Union. Partisans can argue all day (and they do) about the infamous average cost per job computations made, mostly by opponents of the bill, while discussing its merits. However, the aforementioned story stemming out of the SOTU should be disturbing for anyone getting ready to write a tax check to Uncle Sam over the next few months. Despite advocating for green technological development in the past, Blawgconomics feels that the government and nation are facing bigger problems in the immediate future than electric transportation engineering. Therefore the only word that can describe spending nearly $100 million on 50 jobs in the field is wasteful.
Some people feel that the stimulus package was necessary, particularly in light of the lack of tools the Fed has at its disposal with interest rates already hovering around 0%. Others argue against it for reasons based on everything from economic principles to pure partisanship. There will be debate about how many jobs the package will 'create or save' over its lifetime far after the last dollar is spent. However, both sides should be able to agree on at least one point. The bill is signed, the money has been printed, the government has inserted itself into the middle of the economy. The least it can do is oversee where this money is going.
Is this too much to ask? Perhaps. After all, the administration actually invited the owner of the technology company to the State of the Union, leading one to believe that it felt his was actually a success story. It is possible that government is too out of touch to watch over dollars with the same watchful eye as so many Americans must in the current environment. However, at least a few people used the power of the pen to voice their displeasure with such a situation. Hopefully this will continue, because it seems that those at the top have no incentive to make sure that dollars are being used as efficiently as possible.