Posts Tagged ‘Economic Stimulus’
December 12th, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Another Stimulus Boondoggle: $4.7 Billion in Broadband Spending Yields … Absolutely Nothing
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If you want to understand how comprehensively the Obama Administration has failed the nation, you need only begin with this point: as the president approaches the end of his first term, we’re still unearthing lurid details about his first major policy initiative, undertaken in his earliest days in office.

That plan, of course, was the $787 billion stimulus package that was supposed to kickstart economic growth (it didn’t) and keep unemployment under 8 percent (it’s never been that low in the nearly three years since the package was enacted).

Last week, I wrote about the case of a Maryland PR firm that got paid nearly a million dollars in stimulus money by the National Institutes of Health to promote how well the National Institutes of Health was spending stimulus money.

This week’s second verse of the same song is orders of magnitude worse; the dollar amount is in the billions and the outcome wasn’t just wasteful — it was non-existent. According to the Daily Caller:

As of the third quarter of 2011, no 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…

The funds awarded for BTOP totaled over $4 billion, and the average award was $6,217,509, according to

Three years. Over $4 Billion. Zero results. This project may not have stimulated any growth in the broadband sector, but it’s certainly going to keep some Republican opposition researchers employed.

September 21st, 2011 at 8:45 pm
Bernanke’s Fed: ‘Twist’ing in the Wind
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It was less than a month ago that the Federal Reserve wrapped up its annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with all signs pointing to the prospect that the nation’s central bank was going to cool it on the “quantitative easing” (dumping new currency into the markets) for a while. Though the insanity has (at least temporarily) abated, the central bank is still making mischief.

As Politico reports:

The nation’s central bankers dusted off a 1960s-era plan in hopes of rousing the sluggish economy Wednesday, taking the unusual step of shifting $400 billion into longer-term bonds in hopes of slashing interest rates further.

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee voted 7-3 to embark on what’s informally called “Operation Twist,” a move first used during the heyday of Chubby Checker and named for his song of the same name.

The policy is mostly inert, as it won’t actually result in a monetary injection ala quantitative easing. The early consensus is that it won’t have much effect one way or the other. But the possible rationale, if true, is revolting:

Exerting political pressure on Bernanke may have rallied the Fed to act, since the committee likely found “this political meddling repugnant,” wrote JPMorgan Chase economist Michael Feroli in a client note.

Let’s be clear about this: the Fed already operates independent of “political meddling.” Various members of Congress and candidates for president may have been carping about Bernanke’s leadership (a point on which they’re certainly justified), but their influence was limited to the range of their voices. Nothing they said could actually effect policy.

If something so immaterial to the Fed’s work could drive monetary decisions, then this may be the most petulant institution in the federal government. At a time when the economy teeters on the brink of another devastating downturn, making market decisions in response to slights real and imagined shows a staggering lack of seriousness. If this is Mr. Bernanke’s swipe at Governor Perry, he should note that he’s only strengthening the governor’s argument.