The failure of a stimulus

Michael Steele Contributor
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Over a year ago, the American people placed an enormous amount of trust in President Obama to make good on his promises of renewed responsibility and a new era of political bipartisanship. However, when faced with an extreme economic downturn he used the crisis as a means to his liberal ends and with the help of his Congressional allies forced his failed $862 billion stimulus package on America.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of this failed stimulus package, something the president still claims as one of his signature achievements and which he proclaimed would “create or save” 3.5 million jobs and keep unemployment below 8 percent. Since those early heady days of the Obama administration the American people have seen behind the curtain of rhetoric and watched as millions of jobs were lost and unemployment rose into the double digits.

While the Democrats spend their President’s Day recess celebrating their stimulus bill, something Speaker Nancy Pelosi called “a hallmark achievement of this Congress,” the American people are faced with the daily consequences of broken promises and fiscal irresponsibility. The fact is over 20,000 Americans lost their jobs in the month of January, meaning more than 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs since the stimulus passed. And let’s not forget the 136,000 workers became discouraged last month from seeking work, bringing the total number of workers who have given up hope of finding a job to over 1 million.

President Obama promised 3.5 million jobs would be created by December 2010 which means Democrats need to create 6.3 million jobs over the next 10 months to meet their own rhetorical standard, a level of job growth that has never been achieved in American history. The president might call his fiscal and job creation plans a “new foundation for prosperity,” but in reality his binge spending agenda sets the stage for the type of economic stagnation that would make even Jimmy Carter blush.

Now let there be no question: the American economy will recover. The American people and their ingenuity, entrepreneurship and resiliency have always overcome challenging times. But President Obama and Congressional Democrats have done nothing to help the worker or the entrepreneur to overcome such times sooner. Instead, they conceitedly pushed a job-killing agenda that included a $2.5 trillion government takeover of health care and a cap-and-trade national energy tax scheme that has only brought instability to our economy and insecurity to the American people.

President Obama pledged that Joe Biden would lead “unprecedented oversight effort” for the $862 billion stimulus package, “because nobody messes with Joe.” However, here in the real world almost everyone messes with “Joe,” and in light of a year full of false job reports, phantom Congressional districts, and millions spent on “stimulus” road signs, it is clear that “Joe” has lost whatever edge he might have had.

Time and time again, Republicans have offered proven alternative solutions for job creation and economic growth centered on lower taxes and less regulation, but these ideas have been ignored by President Obama and Congressional Democrats. The president can scold the Republican Party for principled opposition and label us the Party of “no” all he wants but it doesn’t change the simple fact that Democrats completely control Washington and have used their power to go on a binge spending spree instead of providing real economic growth for the American people.

Despite the utter failure of major policy initiatives, President Obama and Capitol Hill liberals continue to arrogantly believe that government knows what’s best for Americans. It is this is the type of arrogance that defines the differences between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats like President Obama have put their faith in the institution of big government to solve the problems this nation faces. For them America will only move forward with a top-down liberal agenda. Republicans, on the other hand, have put their faith in the American people and know that sustainable growth will only come from bottom-up solutions to grow the economy and create jobs. Pride truly does cometh before a fall. And if Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts tell us anything, this “fall” could be big.

Michael Steele is chairman of the Republican National Committee.