In a stereotypical example of how both parties filter the facts and only present fractions of the truth that fit into their narrow ideological talking points, we’re hearing a lot of spin over what the government should, or shouldn’t do about the potential stagnation in the economy and job market.
What the Democrats have right is that people would like the government to do something to create jobs. Polls are clear on this point. This Gallup poll, for instance, shows that 60% of respondents support legislation that would “Approve additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy”. And why wouldn’t we?
We can look back into history and see some amazing accomplishments of the depression era job creation programs, that worked on infrastructure that quite literally paved the way for the economic boom that came later on. Looking closer, we can see that some stimulus spending does create jobs quickly, and can produce what they call a multiplier effect in years following, leading to extended stimulation of the economy that can often outweigh the original costs.
One example of this is streetcar and light rail systems in some cities, which produces a boom in growth, and property valuations, within a few blocks of each stop. Other spending, like most of the Democrats’ stimulus spending, are the equivalent to short term band-aids – conveniently focused on spending that helps groups that support the Democratic parties.
So what’s the problem? As Republicans have been happy to point out, polls also show that people don’t think the original stimulus actually did much to help the economy. This poll even shows that more people think the stimulus hurt the economy, than think it helped. Now, I don’t agree with that sentiment, but I can see how some people might have that idea.
I think the stimulus stopped the downward economic slide in its tracks, but I also think it was so amazingly misguided that it does a piss poor job of actually stimulating the job market. They put billions into pet projects that have no short term stimulus effect, huge portions of the stimulus aren’t even planned on being spent in the first two or three years when most of the stimulus’ effect is needed and the Democrats sold the plan as though it would keep unemployment at 8% and spur a quick recovery.
So if anyone on the left wants to blame someone for the public not being sold on the stimulus, and being pissed off at them for not delivering on their over-inflated promises… they need to look in the mirror.