Five years ago Monday, President Barack Obama signed the signature economic proposal of his presidency, saying that the passage of the $787 billion economic stimulus package heralded the “the beginning of the end” of the Great Recession.
The president told a Denver audience that he was “keeping the American Dream alive in our time.” But for millions of Americans, he made things worse.
It is now clear that bold White House predictions about stimulus jobs “saved and created” were just a prelude to later pledges about keeping your doctors and falling premiums.
Equally maddening has been the president’s unwavering belief that an economic recovery could be engineered by Washington’s central planners. It’s as if he isn’t aware of the cynicism engendered by a stimulus bill that seemed to have been designed not so much on the basis of real need or an empirical study of what would actually help people get back on their feet, but on ideology and political connections.
From the tens of billions that have been poured into green energy to an executive order that basically excludes non-unionized workers from major construction projects, for many Americans the stimulus looked more like political payback than a jobs bill — all compliments of the taxpayer.