Debunking Obama’s Infrastructure Spending Jobs Myth

Debunking Obama’s Infrastructure Spending Jobs Myth.

Imagine a high-speed train zooming down hundreds of miles of glistening train track stretching across sunny California, connecting Anaheim to San Francisco. It’s a bullet train dream, and it’s a prime example of President Barack Obama’s latest plan to create jobs in America. The trouble is that this dream is far from reality.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the California high-speed train–which is funded in part by $3 billion in federal grants from President Obama’s stimulus–is now expected to cost $98 billion, twice what was expected, and will take an additional 13 years to complete, extending the project to 2033. Questions remain about where the funding will come from, whether the project is viable, and whether the projected ridership will even materialize.

But projects like these are central to President Obama’s plan to put Americans back to work. Speaking yesterday from Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, D.C., Obama declared that his plan will “put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our airports, our bridges and our transit systems.” And that is, of course, all at the expense of the American taxpayers.

The President once called these projects “shovel ready,” meaning that as soon as money arrived from the federal government, workers could be on the job. He made it sound as easy as flipping a switch, but unfortunately it didn’t work as planned. Despite a $787 billion stimulus package, America’s economy continues to languish with 14 million out of work and a 9.1 percent unemployment rate. The President joked, “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Though he didn’t use the phrase “shovel-ready” in his remarks yesterday, the implication was still there. If Congress approves his jobs plan, he argued, all the construction workers sitting on the sidelines will be put back to work overnight.

But that’s not the way things work in the real world. Associated Press and Congressional Research Service reports show that infrastructure spending does not create jobs and, in fact, can even have a negative effect. Heritage’s Patrick Knudsen explains:

Building and repairing roads and bridges neither creates net job growth nor boosts the economy in the near term.

First, increasing government spending on these projects simply moves resources from one place to another — it may employ construction workers, but only by reducing jobs in other sectors. Further, the money never gets out the door soon enough to promote near-term job growth.

And then there’s the President’s flawed argument that since others are doing it, the United States should be, too. “How do we sit back and watch China and Europe build the best bridges and high-speed railroads and gleaming new airports, and we’re doing nothing?” he asks. It’s not a new line of argument from the President, and it leaves out some very important facts.

Dating all the way back to the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama spoke of the need to “invest” in infrastructure in order to be competitive with the likes of China. At the time, Jim Geraghty reported at National Review Online that while Obama puts China on a pedestal, he entirely overlooks some serious problems with transportation in China–namely, stories of severe power shortages affecting the country’s exports, an episode where 500,000 train passengers were left stranded for days, and outbreaks of violence where airplane travelers were left grounded without accommodation. And that’s not to mention the working conditions under which China builds its infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Europe, which heavily subsidizes its passenger rail systems, receives a poor return on its investment. Heritage’s Ron Utt explains that despite massive spending, passengers are opting for more efficient transportation in the air:

In Europe as a whole (EU-27), rail accounted for only 6.1 percent of passenger travel in 2007, including travel by air and sea. Buses accounted for 8.3 percent of the market, and air travel accounted for 8.8 percent. Despite Europe’s huge investment in passenger rail, its market share declined from 6.6 percent in 1995 to 6.1 percent in 2007. Over that same period, commercial air increased its share from 6.3 percent to 8.8 percent. By providing faster service and competitive prices, it took passengers away from rail, buses, and autos.

But to hear President Obama tell the story, building a European- or Chinese-style infrastructure is the key to the future–and to creating new jobs. Workers are ready to go, and all they need is your money to get started. But this is something we tried once already with the last stimulus, it didn’t work, and it’s not going to work this time, either. Obama’s infrastructure plan is a train that shouldn’t leave the station, headed for a bridge to nowhere, and jobs are the last thing that it will deliver.

Obama–The Numbers Don’t Lie – Lurita Doan – Townhall Conservative

Obama–The Numbers Don’t Lie – Lurita Doan – Townhall Conservative.

Listening to President Obama speak to the Congressional Black Caucus about his past 32 months in office, two bizarre facts become apparent. First, Obama seems to believe that his policies and efforts have been successful. Second, Obama thinks we need to continue down the same path, that he “stood up for a different vision and did what was right. The future rewards those who press on.”

Sadly, it would seem that our President is not merely wrong, but delusional. Let’s take a look at what Obama’s policies have actually produced.

Largest wealth destruction in American history: Net Wealth Lost 2009-2011 –$8.7 Trillion

Highest sustained Unemployment in decades: 9.1%

Brutal Unemployment for minorities: Black Americans : 16.7%

Unprecedented Unemployment: Black Teenage Americans :46.5%

Historic loss in American credit: U.S. Credit Rating drops to: AA-plus

Historic jump in Number of people in U.S. on Foodstamps : 45.8 Trillion

Quixotic investment in mythic Green Jobs : $80 billion

·Supposed Number of Green Jobs Created : 255,000

·Approximate Cost of each Green Job: $313,725.50

Stimulus Program: TARP : $475 Billion

Stimulus Program: Shovel Ready projects : $787 Billion

Stimulus Programs: Cash for Clunkers : $3 billion

Stimulus Programs: Cash for Caulkers : $10 Billion

Changes in Unemployment after $1.5 Trillion of government stimulus: +3% change

Averaged cost of a gallon of gas : $3.45 +$1.25 change

New Regulations 2009-2011 : 75 Major New Regulations, 1,827 Rules Amended

Executive Orders signed by Obama : 96

Cost of New Regulations : + $1.75 Trillion annually

Public Debt : $18.8 Trillion

2012 Federal Budget Proposed by Obama : $3.73 Trillion

Percentage of Americans that pay no taxes: 51%

Percentage of Federal Spending required from borrowing: 40%

Percentage of Government Spending on Entitlements: 60%

Number of Obama proposals to limit entitlement spending: ZERO

By any measure, President Obama’s economic policies and leadership have produced an unambiguous tale of woe. Not once has a single Obama policy produced the anticipated or promised benefits. Moreover, these many policies have made existing problems much worse.

During Obama’s presidency, Americans have lost a collective $8 trillion in national wealth. Even now, his policies continue to crush business development, rob the prudent of their savings, and continue the awful trend of blaming others for his own inexperience and his policy mistakes. Perhaps the saddest fact of all is that President Obama believes that these failures represent success.