Bush did it

Only this time, the White House is keeping that part hush-hush

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is crediting its anti-recession stimulus plan with creating up to 50,000 jobs on dozens of wind farms, even though many of those wind farms were built before the stimulus money began to flow or even before President Barack Obama was inaugurated.

Which investigative journalist broke this for MSNBC?  Maddow?  Matthews?  Olbermann?

Heh.  Russ Choma is your huckleberry – he works at American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop, and has been on this case a few times, as shown by this long list, from May, of all the grants awarded for renewable energy under the Spendthrift Act of 2010.*

* I’m almost certain this was the official name.

Highlights from that list include corporations like WalMart (five grants for $4,171,471) and Kohl’s (TEN grants at least, totalling $4,757,070) for solar electricity installations; a Staples here in New Jersey getting over $3,000,000 for the same (dwarfing the $821,217 given to a local Marshalls, the quarter-mil poured into a TJ Maxx, and the $149,135 given to the “Patel Family LLC,” making me wonder why I’m not an LLC myself); and roughly $6.2 million to a company called Ameresco for three landfill-gas productions: Stafford VA, Keller Canyon Landfill in California (possibly for this project, but you never know), and Jefferson City, Missouri (scroll to the end on that last link – that $2.3 mil  created approximately TEN whole, entire jobs).

Now – I did talk about getting away from the political side, and I’m sorry for going to that well so quickly after the reboot – but to me this isn’t really about the politics of it, but the lying about it.  Like the President was recently heard to say, there aren’t that many “shovel-ready projects” just lying around.  You can’t just up and toss money into the air and have it sprout new jobs wherever it lands, much the same way as you can’t scatter pumpkin seeds on Labor Day and expect full-grown Jack-o-Lanterns by Halloween.  It takes time.  Almost everything that was going to be ready to start had to be planned and in progress well before anyone in the current administration got to Washington – and to judge by the long list of corporations on that grant list, a good portion of that planning and progress was taking place in the private sector.

So, if the economy was the point, rather than who got credit for the economy, why not just say so?  Why not spin this as “This stuff was just sitting around, not helping anyone, until we got to town and paid for it.”  That would still be debatable (both for truth and for utility), but it would have the advantage of being at least plausible.  But it would also acknowledge that the Republicans and the private sector were actually trying to improve the economy, instead of sitting around lighting cigars with the hundred-dollar bills pilfered from folks’ pensions.  (And who’s trying to actually pilfer our 401 (k) accounts, again?  Oh, yeah, the current Congress.)  Can’t have that.

That’s probably why they choose to lie about it.  As has been recently and superbly described, this sort of “give away everyone else’s money” game just doesn’t work .  It can’t.  As the saying goes, eventually you run out of other people’s money.  So they try to make it out like it’s their money to begin with, and they give you a portion to amuse yourself, like parents giving out allowances to their kids.  The big difference is, the parents are actually working to earn that money, so A) they’re producing real value in exchange; and B) they can’t just expand that allowance indefinitely without first earning more.  The government has this all backwards – they produce little or nothing, and love to spend far more than they have.  They have long forgotten that in this analogy, it is THEY who are the kids getting an allowance from US, the adults of the relationship – we are the producers, no we can’t just give you more, and if you don’t start doing your chores, we are cutting you off and grounding you.

So naturally, I’m not too keen on the idea that enormous piles of our money should be shoveled to corporations through the auspices of the government, even (or especially) when the government then has ownership of the corporation.  That stuff’s supposed to pay for roads, schools, the armed forces, etc. ( Congress said they wanted it to save up for a car and instead they’re blowing it at the mall, on gadgets and games and weed – or else lending to their equally-vapid buddies and then crying that they need more from us, like, nobody ever pays them back, it’s so unfair.)  If WalMart wants another $4,000,000 (which is like a rounding error to them anyway) to spend on solar panels, they can sell more stuff and buy the panels themselves.  (At least that kid HAS a job!)  That way I can choose whether or not to contribute my portion of it.

Ultimately, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?  Not politics, in the end, but choices in general – are you free to earn your own living, or are you merely a thrall, a battery powering the vast machine state with your labors, while it swaths you in a numb, false security, and doles out comforts and necessities according to its whim?

Time to break out the red pills.

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