The economy continues to dwindle in these harsh economic times. Job losses have fallen in every month since January and the unemployment rate, 9.4%, is at a twenty-six year low. Based on these statistics, Congress has asked themselves if a second stimulus bill is needed. Let me give you a quick answer, NO!
Let’s go back to the first stimulus, named the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The enormous $787 billion bill failed according to President Barack Obama’s predictions. While campaigning for its vote, Obama stated that without this very important bill, the unemployment rate will rise to 9% in 2010. Conversely, he said, if this legislation is passed, unemployment will not exceed 8%. However, the stimulus bill has not succeeded in doing what President Obama thought it would do, as seen by the unemployment rate flirting with 10%.
With his approval ratings decreasing, Obama sent his Vice President to calm the storm in Ohio, where less than half the people approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as President. In a speech from Cincinnati, VP Biden pointed to teaching and law enforcement jobs being saved, because of the stimulus. For the record, there is no statistic that can accurately measure the number of jobs saved. (By the way, there is a statistic that says we’ve lost roughly two million jobs since the stimulus passed).
For the sake of argument, let’s say that the stimulus did in fact save a few jobs for teachers and police officers. Let me be the first to say great….but those jobs are government jobs, not private sector jobs. And in a free market economy, the private sector contributes the most to the economy.
So now that the first stimulus has failed, lawmakers have been asked if a second stimulus is needed. When asked this question, an economic adviser of the Obama administration responded, “We’ll do whatever it takes.” White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, kept the idea of another stimulus bill open when he said, “We continue to watch what’s going on. I think the bottom line for the president is, if there are steps that he thinks, and his team thinks, need to be taken to improve our economy, we won’t hesitate to do that.”
Now, what if there was a better idea that was cheaper and more productive? Oh, right, there was. In an alternative to the Majority-backed bill, Republicans announced their own stimulus bill, which would have cost taxpayers half as much, while still creating twice as many jobs.
The alternative mainly incorporated tax cuts instead of government spending (see tax cuts good for economy). It would have waived federal taxes on unemployment compensation benefits to help those unemployed keep more money when they need it the most. However, this bill was defeated based solely on party lines.
Instead, we got a bill that was only made available hours before the House vote on it. Due to this, we got a bill that most members of Congress couldn’t get the chance to read it. We got a bill that, although was supposed to invest in our infrastructure, only spent 3.5% of the $787 billion on it. We got a bill that will only use 25% of the money it was allotted this year. Instead, we got a bill that spends $15 billion on $1,000 tax breaks to individuals who do not pay a cent in federal income tax. Great reasons not to support another stimulus bill.