That headline sounds funny … until you realize that President Obama’s friends at the Center for American Progress are serious. Or, they’re trying to sell discount snake oil. Take your pick.
This the most unintentional indictment of Obama’s economic record I’ve yet seen. From the press release that hit my inbox Tuesday:
RELEASE: Repairing Bridges Can Lift Families Out of Poverty
Washington D.C. – Today, the Center for American Progress released a list of the top 10 states with the most deficient bridges and how we could address unemployment and poverty with investments to repair them.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that one in six Americans lived in poverty in 2010, 3 million more than in 2009. A more up to date snapshot of just how bad things are can be found in the August employment numbers—zero jobs added. That eye-popping statistic suggests that poverty numbers for 2011 might surpass the depressing 2010 findings on poverty released last week.
To address the desperate need for jobs, help lift people from poverty, and keep our roads, bridges, and transit systems safe, President Barack Obama introduced the American Jobs Act, which would invest $50 billion in critical infrastructure improvements. This proposal mirrors the successful strategy of infrastructure investments made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which invested nearly $50 billion in infrastructure that put as many as three-quarters of a million Americans to work.
They’re kidding, right? Obama’s latest stimulus to fix bridges and roads is going to lift thousands if not millions of people out of poverty? That’s got to be the audacious projection, because CAP makes such a big deal out of this. I don’t think even members of the Soviet Politburo really believed such clap-trap when Stalin was implementing his sixth or seventh 5-year plan.
I love the part where CAP points to the original Obama stimulus as a selling point. The grand total of that plan, including interest, was about $1 trillion. And we’re supposed to get all happy because the best scenario this liberal think tank can muster is that a mere 5 percent was spent on infrastructure work? And even that $50 billion wasn’t really spent on infrastructure work — as Obama himself admitted when he tried to laugh off the fact that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.”
The joke’s on us. Nearly all of that $1 trillion in the original stimulus was used to prop up state governments and their union workers. The Center for American Progress is continuing the black humor. Few others are laughing.