The Cost of Obama’s Stimulus

The cost of Obama’s latest jobs program is in — and it’s costly.

From the Daily Bail Zero Hedge:

The report was written by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, a group of three economists who were all handpicked by Obama, and it chronicles the alleged success of the “stimulus” in adding or saving jobs. The council reports that, using “mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus” (which it describes as a “natural way to estimate the effects of” the legislation), the “stimulus” has added or saved just under 2.4 million jobs — whether private or public — at a cost (to date) of $666 billion. That’s a cost to taxpayers of $278,000 per job.

So that’s $250,000 per job, before interest expense.  Wouldn’t it be better just to have a free national lottery and mail $200,000 checks to a lucky 1.9 million people?  

Those workers aren’t going to be getting $250,000 in wages. So where’s the money going? My estimate is bureaucracy, overheads, “administration”, and Obama’s cadillac.

Here’s an alternative estimate:

And — as we know from Solyndra — government isn’t exactly great at picking winners and losers. So there’s no guarantee that those jobs will be doing anything productive, or produce anything that people want or need. Of course the safest thing to do might well be to not create the debt — debt that later has to be repaid through taxes — in the first place. We are going through a climactic transformation in society, labour, industry, production and finance — it may very well be the case that significantly more people will have to be self-employed in the future.

But if Obama wants to raise demand now, why doesn’t he just give the money to people who have expenses or needs that they can’t currently afford? Like the elderly living on fixed incomes who are being squeezed by food and fuel inflation? Squeezed middle class families who are in trouble with their mortgage, or being foreclosed? Unemployed people who want to start a business — any business? Small and medium sized businesses who can’t currently raise capital? Companies that want to manufacture in America?

That has almost no overheads, creates almost no bureaucracy,  and requires little-to-no administration.

If the money is instead spent by people out in the economy — instead of economists and government bureaucrats — then the money would necessarily be spent on things people want and need.

4 thoughts on “The Cost of Obama’s Stimulus

  1. I will never forget living in the stagg projects in Brooklyn. When the first stimulus was hitting the streets, lines of mothers wrapped around corners to cash what they were joyfully calling “their Obama money.” It was a check, increased on a per child basis, meant for school clothes and supplies. Retail chains in NYC hailed the spending, and it no doubt saved value chains in hard hit urban areas. I saw and am seeing LOTS of grants on the county and state levels. Most of that hasnt even been spent yet, so I am skeptical of this report until i return from seattle and can read it on my desktop. On a phone now.

  2. Don’t you know? Like Australia, the USA needs to have “Government Programmes” to employ that brat from the wealthy family, who went to the best school, who wants a “Cushy” job, writing and interpreting “Policy” documents. They have to be written by the best literary minds, so as not to offend Senior Managment’s taste.

    Get rid of NGO’s and Government departments, that waste money on “Admin costs”. These costs just fund the wealthy and favoured in society. If the average blue collar worker knew how much of their wage goes to subsidising, the rich brats, there would be an outcry.

    Government in the USA and indeed around the world has become bloated and wasteful. Hopefully the “Austerity” programmes cut the dead wood.

  3. Pingback: Why Robert Reich is Wrong « azizonomics

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