Friday, March 6, 2009

That Makes One of Us

President Obama today assured the American people that he knows "we did the right thing" by way of the $787 billion stimulus bill.

To make this proclamation, the President boarded Air Force One* and flew 300 miles to Columbus, Ohio to tell a graduating class of police cadets that their jobs are a direct result of the stimulus bill. At least until the end of the year when the funding dries up. The claim was not without substantial evidence to support it - he first looked into the recruits' eyes and at their shiny new badges before making his assessment.

As further evidence of the bill's obvious success, the President also noted that many teachers, nurses, firemen, and first responders were not among the 651,000 newly unemployed during the month of February.

This was a thinly veiled attempt to draw emotional support for the cause:
  • "...teachers who are still able to teach our children because we passed this plan."
  • "...nurses who are still able to care for our sick..."
  • "...firefighters and first responders who are still able to keep our communities safe."
My complaint remains unchanged: the poorly-named American Recovery and Reinvestment Act does extremely little to actually stimulate the economy. Paying for 25 new police officers salaries for 10 months does not address the core issue in Columbus, Ohio - insufficient budget to pay for the salaries itself.

On the other hand, if an operating environment were fostered that actually encouraged businesses to expand, that would be change I could believe in. Change with long-lasting effects. Those businesses would need to hire new people. Those people (and the companies) would pay more taxes, helping the City of Columbus pay for their own police force. But that's not all - those employees, including the new cops, would buy things from other businesses, lifting the entire local economy. They would also be able to pay their mortgages, removing a painful burden that has been set upon our shoulders.

If President Obama's stated objective is to be believed, shouldn't he begin pushing for and enacting policies that will encourage real growth and strength? Policies like corporate tax rates, regulatory barriers that make it difficult for American companies to compete globally, and trade imbalance?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but there appears to be an agenda at work here. What other explanation is there for ignoring the obvious? For ignoring the will of the people? 300 million of us can't be wrong.

Big government = broke (and broken) nation


* Lots of interesting talk here about the cost to taxpayers of operating Air Force One, plus a (short) special investigative Congressional report on the topic by a then-minority Representative Henry Waxman. Waxman's attempt to cast Bush/Cheney in an unfavorable light is no more relevant than is an argument that Obama shouldn't be flying around unnecessarily on our dime.

I am of the opinion that the costs of presidential travel are largely fixed. The planes, the pilots, support crew, security, Secret Service, etc., are all expenses that would be incurred even if the POTUS stayed in bed all day. The only significant variables are fuel and accommodations at the destination (security and otherwise).

In other words, while I sought out and found interesting the estimated cost per hour of operating Air Force One, I don't believe it to be a strong argument against Obama for his trip to Columbus.

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