Editor’s Note: This first appeared in BigGovernment.com.
Behold the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – the “Stimulus.” Brought to you by President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their Congressional Democrat cohorts.
Passed, we were told, to keep unemployment below 8%. How’d that work?
The unemployment rate when Obama took office was 7.6%. The stimulus was passed in February 2009. According to Obama, it was never supposed to go above 8% — well, it was already at 8.1% when the stimulus became a law. And it never got any better. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, the unemployment rate remained high. There were some predictions that it would stay above 9% until 2012 (and this was from the White House no less). The CBO also predicts that the unemployment rate would be 8.2% come November 2012 which is higher than when he took office.
It worked swimmingly. Drowning-ly, actually.
As we said way back in February:
Government attempting to “assist” the private sector is the D.C. version of the elementary school game Red Light-Green Light.
If the government has given itself the Green Light – and is lumbering and lurching around the free market, blindly and ignorantly throwing around laws, regulations and money – the private sector freezes in place, afraid to move in any direction for fear of the next federal anvil to fall. The overactive government has thusly emplaced a Red Light in front of the private sector.
Rarely if ever has the federal government been more active than they have been these past two plus years. And as a result the private sector has been exceedingly timid – which explains why our “recovery” has been so pathetic – if not non-existent.
Which brings us to the government “helping” the Internet.
Tucked into the fatty, flabby folds of the 2009 “Stimulus” law was $7.2 billion for broadband Internet projects. And that coin was just as fabulously successful as the rest of the “Stimulus.”
It was supposed to “connect the unconnected” to the Internet. 98% of Americans are already connected – by the government’s own assessment – so why the Leviathan insisted on wading in I will leave to you and yours to decide.
What ended up happening, of course, did not go according to announced central-plan. The feds instead established government-subsidized competitors to existing private sector broadband providers.
Again, 98% of Americans are already connected – via private sector broadband Internet providers. And they got us there in about fifteen years.
So why insert the government – which had a seventy-plus year mandate to connect the unconnected to landline telephones, and only managed to reach about 93% before the (private sector) cell phone revolution began the inexorable decline?
And we now have yet another update demonstrating the utter failure of government “stimulus” – on $4.7 billion of said government Internet coin.
As of the third quarter of 2011, only two projects from the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) — a technology stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — have been completed, according to data from Recovery.gov.
Fabulous completion rate – think Tim Tebow in quarters 1-3. But don’t expect a Tebow-esque fourth quarter rally – because the game is already long over.
The grants were awarded through 2010 and the final BTOP funds were awarded by Sept. 30, 2010, according to NTIA‘s own description of the program.
The money’s long been out the door. Whatever was “shovel-ready” – has been shoveled. The entirety of the feeble bang for our billions of Internet bucks – has already banged.
Perhaps, again, because 98% of Americans were already connected. Meaning – there was pretty much nothing to shovel. No bang to be had.
Yet we dumped nearly $5 billion in government money – with $2+ billion more still to come – down a pointless, fruitless rat hole. Pre-identified by the government as a pointless, fruitless rat hole.
Yet another excellent outlay of our government money. Revel in the ongoing “Stimulus” success.