One never knows if the American people will conclusively learn a painful economic lesson, but recent polls suggest they’re waking up to the Keynesian “stimulus” scam. The Obama years are blowing a hole in one of the sacred tenets of Big Government. If Americans aren’t spun back to sleep, we’ll be feeling the aftershocks for decades.
I sometimes hesitate to attach the name of John Maynard Keynes to what has been going on for the past few years. Defenders of his theories insist they aren’t properly understood or practiced by politicians who claim his mantle… which puts Keynes squarely in the company of every other theorist dragged into political debates. Let’s leave him out of it, and focus on what the politicians have been saying.
The guiding principle of Obamanomics is the superior economic wisdom of the State. Individuals and corporations cannot be trusted to spend and invest wisely, for the maximum benefit of society, so the government must do it for them. This belief has been practiced with furious intensity since Obama took office, and the results are dismal: persistent high unemployment, anemic economic growth, and skyrocketing national debt.
According to the official pronouncements of the President and members of his administration, the two most potent forms of economic stimulus are unemployment insurance and food stamps. How much have we spent on these two powerful blends of job-creation rocket fuel?
The Consolidated Federal Funds Report from the U.S. Census Bureau says “the federal government spent $85.8 billion on unemployment compensation in 2009, an increase of 114.6 percent from 2008. Forty states saw increases in unemployment compensation of more than 100 percent. Meanwhile, 27 states allocated more than $1 billion for unemployment compensation.”
There’s no Consolidated Federal Funds Report for 2010 yet, but an April 2010 report from The Hill stated “Federal spending on unemployment benefits could eclipse $165 billion this year, five times greater than in 2005, adding to growing budget woes, according to a study released Monday by the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative.”