Friday, September 24, 2010

Ohio stimulus dollars

I received a press release the other day from the Ohio Republican Party talking about how Ohio has spent its so-called 'stimulus dollars.'

From the release:

As a follow-up to Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Dayton on Monday, we thought it would be helpful to look at where Ohio's "stimulus" dollars are being spent:

* $1 million on road signs to tell Ohioans which highway projects were funded by federal stimulus dollars. (The Plain Dealer, 9/9/09)

* $11 million to outsource an appliance rebate program to a Texas company, which then hired workers in El Salvador. (The Plain Dealer, 7/29/10)

* $145,000 to rent "marble-clad" banquet halls, high-end hotels and conference centers for teacher workshops in Columbus. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/6/09)

* $1.4 million to pay speakers at a Columbus City Schools workshop, including thousands of dollars to a company owned by the former school board president. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/6/09)

* $800,000 for "quiet zones" in North Ridgeville, OH, where the mayor admits the project is "a long way from the top priority." (The Chronicle Telegram, 5/22/09)

* $63,000 for the Ohio Department of Agriculture to buy fish food. (CNN, 1/25/10)

* $4.5 million for Cleveland City Schools to provide "family liaisons" that help parents "find their way through the school district bureaucracy." (The Plain Dealer, 11/06/09)

* Unknown amount of funds to fix curbs on Gov. Strickland's street, which a local TV station calls "one of the most prestigious areas of Central Ohio where million-dollar mansions sit secluded behind well manicured landscaping." (WCMH-Columbus, 8/27/10)

* $500,000 for a consultant to design a recycling campaign for new trash cans in Dayton that use "microchips to track citizen participation." (Dayton Daily News, 2/11/10)

* $300,000 to open and operate a city-owned pool in Youngstown. (Vindicator, 6/12/10)

* $200,000 for a Toledo ship museum to remove asbestos from a 1911 ship. (Fox Toledo, 7/22/10)

* $336,000 to collect and document flowers and plants in Ohio. (WCMH-Columbus, 8/5/10)

* $267 million for home weatherization projects in Ohio, 40 percent of which later failed state inspection. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/14/10)

* $1.5 million to install fencing on an Akron bridge to keep people from jumping. (Akron Beacon Journal, 3/27/09)

Now, I understand how some people might think that government spending creates jobs - but every historical, empirical, objective evaluation of such spending shows it can only 'create' temporary jobs - not the kind of economic growth that is necessary to sustain a turn-around.

And if having the government pay people to work actually was such a good thing, we could employ half the unemployed by giving them a spoon and telling them to dig a whole while employing the other half to fill it. There's no economic growth in doing that.

And many of these types of projects are similar. They take money from the people actually paying taxes and spend it on 'make work' projects or on things that the federal government shouldn't be paying for.

What a warped system we have. We 'rejoice' and politicians 'brag' about getting this money only to find that it ends up costing us more in the long run. How much additional money would I have in my pocket if I wasn't helping to pay for pools in Youngstown, recycling advertising programs in Dayton (not to mention in addition to the huge trash tax I'm paying in Toledo), liaisons at Cleveland schools, curbs at the governor's mansion or fish food. And how much money would I have for weatherizing my home if I weren't helping to pay for everyone else to do the same?

This is a failed logic and I hope the majority of voters are going to vote against such programs and politicians who support such programs. And that non-voters realize what's going on and begin to vote.

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