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Posts tagged with “Stimulus Spending”

Wisconsin Still Double-Counting Stimulus Jobs

Let’s be honest with ourselves here:  As long as Barack Obama is President, Democrats control Congress, Jim Doyle is Governor, Democrats control the state legislature, and Tom Barrett remains in Doyle’s good graces, these numbers will still be play things because none of them in a place of power — and I do mean none of them — is going to admit this thing isn’t working.

Or at worst, was nothing more than a bailout plan for state governments and a racket-protection bill for state and local government employees in unions like AFSCME, AFGE, and SEIU.

A new report touts more than 10,300 jobs created or saved in Wisconsin by federal stimulus money in the last three months of 2009.

But the jobs listed are based on new accounting rules that make it impossible to track the total number of jobs created or saved by the program. And the updated guidelines also make it impossible to avoid double counting from quarter to quarter.

Take the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

In the latest round of reporting, the state agency used the exact same job creation figure from an earlier report instead of generating an updated number. That’s now an acceptable reporting method, according to Gov. Jim Doyle’s office, which is overseeing stimulus spending.

Fourth-quarter data reported to the federal government shows that 3,932 education positions were funded by almost $481 million in stimulus money, which helped school districts around the state avoid laying off teachers and support staff. All the money was distributed to districts last summer.

That job number is the same one used in the previous reporting period because the jobs were reported on an annual, not quarterly, basis, state officials said. So the state education department will keep copying that figure through the end of this school year.

“It’s not that (school districts) created another 3,900 jobs last quarter, it’s that the job is still there because it was saved or created with that money in the first place,” said Patrick Gasper, spokesman for the state education agency. “It’s a very complicated process on top of all of the other federal programs that we have to pay attention to.”

A [Milwaukee] Journal Sentinel review last fall found that the number of jobs reported in the state in the first round of stimulus reporting was overstated by hundreds of jobs. The newspaper found instances of human error, double counting and more than 100 cases where cost-of-living pay raises were counted as jobs saved.

Last week, the White House released stimulus jobs data that shows 10,316 jobs in Wisconsin were funded by stimulus money in the past quarter. Nationwide, 599,108 jobs were reported as funded by the stimulus during that period.

Under new rules issued in December by the Office of Management and Budget, the new tally is no longer based on jobs “created or saved,” but instead any job funded by the recovery act. And the jobs number is now listed for each quarter, instead of on cumulative basis as before.

The new accounting rules pretty much assure no one will ever get clear, precise numbers from the stimulus bill; rules intentionally-designed not to make the program look bad when in fact that’s exactly what could be happening.

There’s very little other way to spin it.

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CNN Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose Stimulus

Well, the bulk of the stimulus hasn’t even been issued, [The plan was for it to be a Democratic re-election plan after all.] so why not just end the blasted thing?

Seriously, it’s not working.

A majority of Americans oppose the economic stimulus program, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday say they oppose the stimulus package, with 42 percent supporting it.

Last March, just weeks after the stimulus bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama, a CNN poll indicated that 54 percent of the public supported the program, with 44 percent opposed.

The program, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, attempts to stimulate the country’s economy by increasing federal government spending and cutting taxes at a total cost to the government of $787 billion. No Republicans in the House and only three in the Senate voted in favor of the bill.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 8-10, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Why was CNN hanging on to these numbers for nearly two weeks before publishing it?

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AP: Road Projects Getting Stimulus Cash, No Jobs From It

Behold, the continued folly of Keynesian Economics.

Ten months into President Obama’s first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn’t matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama’s argument that more road money would address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”

Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress that relies in part on more road and bridge spending, projects the president said are “at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth.”

Construction spending would be a key part of the Jobs for Main Street Act, a $75 billion second stimulus to revive the nation’s lethargic unemployment rate and improve the dismal job market for construction workers.

The House approved the bill 217-212 last month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., worked the floor for an hour; the Senate is expected to consider it later in January.

AP’s analysis, which was reviewed by independent economists at five universities, showed that strategy hasn’t affected unemployment rates so far. And there’s concern it won’t work the second time.

This is why I get a good chuckle everytime some liberal and/or Democratic blogger talks about how the Stimulus package and how they intend to use its success to ruin the GOP in 2010 (Funny, I don’t recall ever rooting against the Stimulus, I recall saying it wasn’t going to work.) and or Scott Walker “foolish” for his poorly-worded response last year regarding the package because it was going to produce jobs.

So far, other than bailing out school boards and the state budget for 2009, the stimulus has little to nothing to show for it.

But perhaps the biggest sign regarding the politics of the stimulus that its not working is a report from ABC News, which reports the White House will no longer be talking about “Saved or Created Jobs,” just the money which was spent.

In a little-noticed December 18, 2009 memo from Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag the Obama administration is changing the way stimulus jobs are counted.

The memo, first noted by ProPublica, says that those receiving stimulus funds no longer have to say whether a job has been saved or created.

“Instead, recipients will more easily and objectively report on jobs funded with Recovery Act dollars,” Orszag wrote.

In other words, if the project is being funded with stimulus dollars – even if the person worked at that company or organization before and will work the same place afterwards – that’s a stimulus job.

This economy is going to stop being in a holding pattern when government gets out of the way; in both terms of choosing the winners and losers with stimulus funding and unneeded rules and regulations.

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Stimulus Used for 3-Day Teachers Convention in Ohio

Hope and Change.

(Well, mostly change.)

Columbus City Schools have more than 120 buildings designed for teaching.

But in a three-day effort to teach its teachers, the district is renting banquet halls, high-end hotels and conference centers — using almost $145,000 in federal grant dollars.

Many schools also will be used as sites for workshops, but the external locations were needed because sessions will go on all day and cafeteria benches would have been uncomfortable, spokeswoman Kim Norris said. Also, classroom desks might have been too small for adults, she said.

The district will pay up to $8,000 to rent Villa Milano, a marble-clad banquet hall with enough “classic elegance” that “you will think you have been transported to a romantic Italian Villa,” according to the hall’s Web site.

Other sites include: the Hyatt Regency ($23,000); the Greater Columbus Convention Center and the Hyatt on Capitol Square ($25,000 each); the Quest Business and Conference Center at Polaris ($17,000); and the Aladdin Temple near Easton ($12,500).

The district will pay the speakers more than $1.4 million in federal stimulus money, part of $64.2 million that Columbus schools have been awarded from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D), has been on record as being opposed to any sort of over-sight of how the Buckeye State is spending its federal stimulus.  With an attitude like that, he will be easily replaced by former GOP Congressman and Fox News talk show host John Kasich next November by Ohio’s voters.

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Of Course It’s About the Money, Not Real Reform

(Sung to the tune of “Whatever Lola Wants” from Damn Yankees)

Whatever WEAC wants…WEAC gets.  And little tax dollar, little WEAC wants you.

When you have WASB; the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, calling foul on something, it’s usually a good time to realize WEAC has gone even too far for their local puppets.  Which what they appear to have Governor Jim Doyle, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEAC, and the state legislature about to do in this ‘reform’ of the state’s teaching laws designed to get more federal stimulus money.

A prohibition on using student test results to evaluate teachers would be removed under a proposal backed by Gov. Jim Doyle as a way to ensure Wisconsin can qualify for federal Race to the Top stimulus money.

While the bill before state lawmakers would remove the prohibition on using the data, teachers could not be disciplined or fired based on the test results.

That limitation caused the state’s school board association to oppose the change Monday. It also resulted in questions from state lawmakers about whether the change goes far enough to meet eligibility requirements under the federal grant program.

The state teachers’ union supports the measure as written and opposes student test data being used to evaluate teachers.

(Emphasis Mine)

Of course the state teachers’ union supports the measure as written.  They were likely in the room writing it.

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Quote of the Day

From a memo to House Republicans by Alan Meltzer, Economics Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

There is no greater recognition of the failure of the stimulus program to create jobs than the efforts to mislead the public into believing the program had saved thousands, or millions, of jobs.One can search economic textbooks forever without finding a concept called “jobs saved.” It doesn’t exist for good reason:  how can anyone know that his or her job has been saved? The Administration can make up any number it pleases.  The number has no meaning.  The Council of Economic Advisers gets a number for jobs saved using the same model that Dr. Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein used when they forecast that the $787 stimulus program would keep the worst unemployment rate in this recession at about eight percent.  But as we all know, since that bill became law, our economy has shed some three million jobs and the unemployment rate is nearing double digits.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

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So Much for “Temporary” Stimulus Spending

(H/T Greg Mankiw)

Of course, you already knew that…

The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” (ARRA), was rushed through Congress on the grounds that fast-acting and temporary measures were needed to counteract the recession….However, many of the provisions in the stimulus will not be temporary….All told, the Obama administration’s budget seeks to make at least 37% of ARRA’s spending and tax cuts permanent.

Something tells me, it will be more on the spending side. It’s always on the spending side.

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Stimulus Money Goes for Casino Employee Training

One of the more interesting “Seriously, this one’s going to work?” memes coming from the WI liberal bloggers is their attack on Scott Walker for a remark he made on Twitter about “Real People and the Stimulus.”  I don’t know who started it — I think it was Corey — but I never really thought it would gain much traction outside of their little club (and it hasn’t) because polling shows most Americans aren’t buying that the stimulus has worked, is going to work, or even come close to effecting their lives.

So thanks to the MacIver Institute for showing us just what kind of “real people” are getting the stimulus money.

When a dozen employees of the Oneida Bingo & Casino were asked to act out a scenario of diffusing a tense situation with an angry customer at a recent training session, it was clear this was something most of them had dealt with before.

Instructor Joanne Athey said she was impressed by how the participants took on the roles of customer, employee and supervisor in this emotionally heated situation.

It was one of the activities Oneida Bingo & Casino employees participated in as part of a specialized two-day customer service-training program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College this summer. Every employee in the company, from the senior managers to the front-line workers, was required to take part in the training, Athey said.

The partnership between NWTC and the tribe came from a $67,268 work force advancement-training grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Oneida Bingo & Casino pitched in more money to make it available to its entire 1,600-plus staff through the end of August.

(For the original article from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, please go here.)

So let me get this straight…Customer Service Training at an Indian Casino is economic stimulus these days.  Awesome.

Admittedly, $67,000 is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but how is this supposed to help “real people” again?

When a dozen employees of the Oneida Bingo & Casino were asked to act out a scenario of diffusing a tense situation with an angry customer at a recent training session, it was clear this was something most of them had dealt with before.

Instructor Joanne Athey said she was impressed by how the participants took on the roles of customer, employee and supervisor in this emotionally heated situation.

It was one of the activities Oneida Bingo & Casino employees participated in as part of a specialized two-day customer service-training program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College this summer. Every employee in the company, from the senior managers to the front-line workers, was required to take part in the training, Athey said.

The partnership between NWTC and the tribe came from a $67,268 work force advancement-training grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Oneida Bingo & Casino pitched in more money to make it available to its entire 1,600-plus staff through the end of August.

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