Missing in Action: Stimulus Sheriff Joe Biden

Remember when President Obama bragged about Joe Biden’s fiscal discipline cred in 2009? “To you, he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the Sheriff,” Obama warned government employees. “Because if you’re misusing taxpayer money, you’ll have to answer to him.”

Fast-forward to 2012. Call in the search teams. Since being appointed the nation’s stimulus spending cop, Sheriff Joe has taken a permanent donut break. He’s AWOL on oversight. In fact, he’s been bubble-wrapped, boxed and kept completely out of sight. The garrulous gaffe machine hasn’t sat down for a national media interview in five months.

The Democrats’ trillion-dollar “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” however, keeps piling up waste, failure, fraud and debt. Who benefited most? Big government cronies.

According to Investor’s Business Daily this week, a new analysis by Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor reported that “(m)ore than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by President Obama’s economic stimulus in the first year were in government.”

Dupor and another colleague had earlier concluded that the porkulus was a predictable jobs-killer that crowded out non-government jobs with make-work public jobs and programs. Indeed, the massive wealth redistribution scheme “destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs” by siphoning tax dollars “to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment.”

Will this Keynesian wreckage come up during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate? It should be a centerpiece of domestic policy discussion. Nowhere is the gulf between Obama/Biden rhetoric and reality on jobs wider.

Remember: Obama’s Ivy League eggheads behind the stimulus promised that “(m)ore than 90 percent of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector.” These are the same feckless economic advisers who infamously vowed that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent — and that unemployment would drop below 6 percent sometime this year.

Sheriff Joe rebuked the “naysayers” who decried the behemoth stimulus program’s waste, fraud and abuse. “You know what? They were wrong,” he crowed.

But Biden was radio silent about the nearly 4,000 stimulus recipients who received $24 billion in Recovery Act funds — while owing more than $750 million in unpaid corporate, payroll and other taxes. (Cash for Tax Cheats, anyone?)

He had nothing to say about the $6 billion in stimulus energy credits for homeowners that went to nearly a third of credit-claimers who had no record of homeownership, including minors and prisoners.

And the $530 million dumped into the profligate Detroit public schools for laptops and other computer equipment that have had little, if any, measurable academic benefits.

And the whopping $6.7 million cost per job under the $50 billion stimulus-funded green energy loan program — which funded politically connected but now bankrupt solar firms Solyndra ($535 million), Abound Solar ($400 million), Beacon Power ($43 million), A123 ($250 million) and Ener1 ($119 million).

And the $1 million in stimulus cash that went to Big Bird and Sesame Street “to promote healthy eating,” which created a theoretical “1.47″ jobs. (As Sean Higgins of The Examiner noted, “(T)hat comes out to about $726,000 per job created.”)

And the hundreds of millions in stimulus money steered to General Services Administrations junkets in Las Vegas and Hawaii, ghost congressional districts, dead people, infrastructure to nowhere and ubiquitous stimulus propaganda road signs stamped with the shovel-ready logo.

Of course, there’s no example of unfettered stimulus squandering more fitting than the one named after Keystone Fiscal Kop Joe Biden himself. Government-funded Amtrak’s Wilmington, Del., station raked in $20 million in “recovery” money after heavy personal lobbying by the state’s most prominent customer and cheerleader. In return, the station (which came in $6 million over budget, according to The Washington Times) renamed its facility after Biden.

Bloated costs. Crony political narcissism. Glaring conflicts of interest. Monumental waste. This is the Obama/Biden stimulus legacy bequeathed to our children and their grandchildren. Sheriff Joe and his plundering boss need to be run out of town on a rail.

  • Bruce A.

    Joe Biden should be dressed in a clown suit.

  • Wheels55

    Doesn’t this Biden picture look like Leslie Nielsen?

    • CCNV

      Nielsen looked intelligent and classy. Biden looks like a drunk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

    What a load of BS.  Every study except the one you mentioned by both government and private firms have found 2.5-4.5 million jobs found.  The study you reference merely looked at the jobs reported by stimulus recipients and those only mention direct jobs saved or created. This is of course not the whole story; for example if a plant closes down then all the other plants that supply that plant will lay off workers which are not counted under that scheme.  Also it doesnt account for other local jobs saved.  If a plant lays of everyone then all those workers families cannot buy as many things as they used to causing layoffs in other local business.  This is how once thriving towns turn into ghost towns.

    As for the jobs coming in public sector and not private the public sector has lost 600,000 jobs under Obama (private sector has gained over 5 million).  The reason that initial jobs saved were public sector is that around 1/3 of money from ARRA went to states to fill their budget deficits that would have meant they laid off teachers, firefighters, cops …  
    Studies have found that $7.2 million dollars have been lost to fraud or 0.001%.  As for cronyism after Solyndra failed the Republicans in Congress spent time reviewing the record of administration on Solyndra. The leader of the study who is a Republican who called Obama the worst cronyism president in history, when asked if there was fraud or cronyism he said no after the investigation.  I mean the original plan to loan money to Solyndra was by President Bush not Obama.  On the jobs front these are as you correctly pointed out loans so the government will get most of the money it invested back.
    As for money lost that happens when you invest.  If you are curious about bad investments ask Romney a study done by the Wall Street Journal found that 22% of the firms he and Bain invested in went bankrupt or out of business.  Under the Recovery Act that number is 1-2%.  For green loans the government set aside 2.5 billion for potential losses from failing firms and evidence suggests that is more than enough.
    The train station you mentioned was the joke of the region before it was replaced even though it was in the top 5 most used in the whole region.  Places get named for politicians all the time so the idea that this is somehow evidence of cronyism is dishonest at best.  For example their is a school named after Bush and even an organism(Agathidium Bushi see wikipedia).
    Finally, there is a lot of stuff you mention about things which created few jobs.  Now as I already explained these only count direct jobs and so of course under count jobs saved and created.  But more importantly the act is called the American Recovery and REINVESTMENT Act (emphasis mine).  Many parts of the bill were meant to reinvest in Americas future.  This is why there was funding for Big Bird because American children are becoming increasingly obese and fixing their diet will help save them from diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.  This is also why ARRA invested in weatherizing houses, 1 million weatherizing saving on average $400 per year per house.  It invested in electronic medical records saving patients money because they no longer need to get procedures done twice.  It invested in a smart electrical grid which also saves money and prevents blackouts by rerouting power away from transformers which are about to fail and by slightly dimming the lights at places like Walmart (they volunteered) at peak times to save Walmart money but also to keep the lights on for everyone else.  Most of these things created jobs, but also they helped move America into the 21st century.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

      Oh sorry I missed one other piece of BS I would like to comment on.  Unemployment rose above 8% in early February and the ARRA was passed in mid February so there was no way that the ARRA could have prevented unemployment from passing 8% the reason that they predicted under 8% was that the early indicators of how bad the problem was were underestimates.  The estimate at the time for the decrease in GDP was ~3% while the actual number was 8.9% similarly job lose numbers at the time were also underestimates.  The report you referenced has caveats in it like “considering current evidence”.  They also mentioned best case senario because it was vitally important that the stimulus money started flowing as soon as possible.  If you really think doing nothing would have been better start looking at timelines.  The greatest loss of jobs were January and February right before the stimulus passed.  When the stimulus spending was at its maximum was when the unemployment stopped increasing and started decreasing.  We can also look at history.  After the stock market crash of 1929 Hoover shrunk the federal government and unemployment skyrocketed.  After Roosevelt took office and started spending again the unemployment started to come down. Then in 1937 he started shrinking the government again and the unemployment started going up again.  It wasnt until WWII when spending reached 120% of GDP that the depression truly ended.  Roosevelt like Obama also invested in the future of America which lead to the 1950′s which was one of the greatest times of economic growth in American history.

      • nameless

        Oh great, another nanny state liberal. Honestly, move to Europe why don’t you all? You would fit right in there, SNAG!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

          Your right I believe that the government should help people by offering them “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”(declaration of independence) by helping them with food stamps and health care (life).  It should make everyone equals see lily ledbetter act(liberty; first bill signed by obama).  For happiness I would say helping put 5 million people back to work, working to protect national parks from oil drilling among other things.
          I also believe in the constitution which is made to “create a more perfect union” and “promote the general welfare” (preamble).  So if believing that the government has a constitutional imperative to help the poor and middle class makes me a nanny state liberal so be it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

          Oh I’m sorry this is affiliated with Fox News so you don’t actually read the Constitution or the bible just pretend you do.  I’m guessing you think that the Bible says that “God helps those who help themselves” which (a) is not true and (b) is the opposite of the Bibles message: “whatever you did for one the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:40)  So it’s not just the constitution that argues for the for looking after the poor (aka Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and welfare), but God himself.

    • Wheels55

      Spin the stats any way you want, the economy still sucks under Obama. His shovel ready jobs weren’t so shovel ready (his words).

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

        Agreed thats why the whole bill wasnt infrastructure there were tax cuts and state aid.  But the bill did meet every major checkpoint in terms of spending goals and goals for individual products.  Getting the money spent was Biden’s job hence the title of the article.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

        As for economy sucking I see unemployment dropping, both actual unemployment and what is referred to in the BLS as U-6 which includes parttime, unemployed and people leaving the work force while labor participation is increasing up 0.4 percentage points last month.  Also the Dow has doubled since Obama took office, corporate profits are at all time highs, home owners are doing better, 1.2 million people are not homeless because of ARRA.  So by most measures of the economy it is getting better every day and if Republicans would stop blocking bills putting veterans to work and other bills putting people back to work we would be doing even better.

        • CCNV

          Seems to me that the ‘blocking’ is done by Pinky Reid. A LOT of bills do not get past his beady eyes. He’s the shit-stirrer. Dems had Senate and House from 2006 to 2010. That’s why things are in the crapper.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586010047 Michael Spillane

            I see this claim that because the Democrats controled congress they are to blame so I would like to explain why this is false.
            The idea that the congress caused the problem is preposterous because Bush could have vetoed anything he didnt like.  Also the Dems didnt take office until 2007.  The signs of the subprime morgage issues started in April 2007.   The credit freeze was August 9 2007 and by early 2008 banks were failing.  In addition, in Bush’s first term over 1 million manufacturing jobs had already been lost and by 2007 I think it was closer to 1.5 million. So before dems took the senate 1.5 million manufacturing jobs were gone, and within months the subprime lending issues were already there.  So unless dems could build a time machine and change the past there was little they could do.  I should also remind you that during this time the president (Bush) was telling everyone that the fundamentals of the economy were still strong.  So the claim that this is the Dems fault is false and shows a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding of how the recession occurred.I will however give you that the Senate and House should at least try to get on the same page, but that requires both sides to make some concessions.  But the Republicans dont seem to want to have anything to do with compromise.  Dems only had filibuster proof (supermajority) for 6 months.  If you go look at the number of filibusters the number dramatically increases in 2006 and continues to increase.  That exactly coincides with the take over of the senate by democrats.  I’m not saying it wasnt done before but the Republicans have used it for everything.  They filibustered the Zadroga bill to provide medical help to the 9-11 first responders a bill which Paul Ryan voted against in the house twice before it passed unanimously in the senate once Jon Stewart brought attention to the bill. So until Republicans get serious about compromise nothing will happen.

    • http://twitter.com/Frederickxx Frederick A Theobald

       I thought your detective books were crap as well.

  • Wheels55

    Biden is the scarecrow to Obama’s Tin Man