About that stimulus package…
Sure, I’m beating a dead horse here when it comes to railing on the failed $800 billion stimulus bill, but stories like this one just accentuates the folly of the whole episode:
The upcoming election was far from cabinetmaker Kevin Rodriguez’ mind as he and his 5-year-old son watched a Halloween parade last week in a downtown plaza of this East Bay community.
Over the last two years as the nation slid into recession, the 46-year-old independent voter lost his business and was forced to sell his house. He has scraped together a living from side jobs, savings and unemployment benefits, which are about to run out. He even contemplated the once-unthinkable: applying for food stamps.
President Obama had been in the state a few days earlier, campaigning for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and making the case that the administration’s economic stimulus program, its tax cuts for the middle class and small-business initiatives were turning the tide and putting people back to work.
But so far, Rodriguez hasn’t seen much progress. The stimulus program didn’t put enough money in people’s pockets to revive demand for the remodeled kitchens and home improvements that fueled his business for 19 years. And he didn’t think much of the tax breaks: “When you’re talking about $8 to $10 a week, what is that going to buy you — a couple of gallons of gas maybe?”
The stimulus has been the major dividing line between the U.S. Senate candidates. But nothing offered by either side in this election — not Boxer’s cheery optimism about “jobs, jobs, jobs” nor her challenger Carly Fiorina’s dark pronouncements that the stimulus program has failed and change is needed — has left him with any desire to vote on Tuesday.
“Yeah, my vote counts and it’s important to me, but it’s just so frustrating. Everything is so frustrating when everything was so good just back in ’06,” Rodriguez said as he and his son watched the procession of princesses and superheroes from the front cab of their truck. “I went from doing real well to nothing — lost my home, lost my cars, just everything.”
“I don’t see too many things changing,” he said.
Mr. Rodriguez implies that what happened after 2006 seemed to pull the plug on his business and the economy. I’m jogging my memory, but what happened after 2006 that would have caused such a problem?
In the weeks leading up to tomorrow’s election, the Democrats have tried to rescue their sinking political fortunes by citing the alleged “successes” of the stimulus bill and its miniscule “tax-cuts”. See, it’s the American people who are too ignorant to see the heroic benevolence of Democrats and their leader in the White House, you dumb rubes.
The tax cut, which amounted to approximately an extra $13 for each paycheck, like Mr. Rodriguez noted, amounted to nothing. In most parts of the country, you’d be lucky to fill half a gas tank with that windfall.
But the Democrats pressed on, the liberal blogosphere insisted, that it was a huge step in the right direction, and we were just too ungrateful to realize it. That, and the “shovel-ready” jobs that the stimulus supposedly helped, jobs which the President admitted never existed to begin with.