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Hatch: Third anniversary of Obama stimulus no cause for celebration
by Sen. Orrin Hatch
Feb 17, 2012 | 1176 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This past week marked the anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the misnamed nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill the President signed into law three years ago that was supposed to generate millions of new jobs and jumpstart the U.S. economy.

Back in February 2009, the President was so sure that his stimulus and other prescriptions for economic recovery would work that he told NBC’s Matt Lauer: “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

Well, as the President embarks on the fourth – and possibly final – year of his presidency, the stimulus has proven to be nothing to crow about. It is a massive failure, having stimulated little other than adding substantially to our now $15 trillion-plus national debt.

The numbers explain why. When lobbying for passage of the stimulus in February 2009, the President and his advisors said the stimulus would create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years. They further said the legislation was essential to keeping unemployment under 8 percent.

That hasn’t happened.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the nation has lost more than 1.7 million jobs since this President took office and the passage of his stimulus plan. Under his watch, unemployment averaged 9.4 percent from March 2009 through December 2011 and the number of jobless Americans reached an all-time high of 15.4 million. In fact, unemployment has remained above 8 percent nationally for a record 36 months and the average length of unemployment has doubled to nearly 41 weeks.

Such statistics show that, far from being another “New Deal,” which is what the White House called the stimulus when it passed on a partisan vote, it is closer to the moniker I and other fiscal conservatives applied to it: “The Raw Deal.” The fact that we have been proven right is of no solace to us, just as it isn’t for every American.

It also comes as no surprise, especially when one realizes that this President and members of his Cabinet – however bright or well-intentioned – have never created a job and don’t know the first thing about how to do it. That’s why they embarked on a historic government spending spree that has brought our nation four consecutive trillion-dollar deficits that are not only mortgaging our future, but also that of our children and grandchildren.

That’s what happens when an inexperienced White House refuses to work with fiscal conservatives. Working together, we could have drafted a bill that would have empowered the small businesses responsible for 70 percent of the new jobs in this country to create even more. Instead, as The Chicago Sun-Times noted, the “Obama administration has assaulted “American businesses and the jobs they create” with 4,257 new regulations, “219 of which will cost over $100 million annually.” Little wonder a new Gallup survey found that 85 percent of U.S. small businesses are not hiring, about half of them due to rising health care costs and excessive government regulation.

As is often the case when the federal government gets involved, fraud and waste have also been an issue. Billions of taxpayer dollars in the stimulus have been squandered to fund such items as turtle tunnels and studies of drunken mice, the genetic makeup of ants and the mating decisions of cactus bugs. Just this month a report surfaced that $489,000 was spent on replacing the engines on a luxury yacht that no longer met California’s emission standards.

Well, that kind of spending doesn’t hold water with Utahns. Like the vast majority of Americans, they have had enough, and they are ready to deep-six the President’s proposal for another $350 billion stimulus package. Mulligans might be OK for golf, but not for our economy.

This Administration has bungled its first stimulus so badly, it doesn’t deserve a second chance. And if this President fails to show leadership in cutting spending and getting the nation’s fiscal house in order, he likely won’t get one either.
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