The Trillion Dollar Teaching Moment

When Barack Obama and the Democrats were selling their snake oil, otherwise known as stimulus, they told us about all the “shovel ready” projects that would be funded with the money. There were all these jobs that were just waiting for the money to appear and they would have shovels banging the ground.

Obama, Biden, Pelosi and the rest of the gaggle used the words “shovel ready” early and often. We were led to believe that all these jobs were ready to go, or should I say, shovel ready to go?

In a recent New York Times interview Obama admits that there is no such thing as a shovel ready project. He tells us that it took him too long to realize that there is no such thing as shovel ready projects:

In the magazine article, Mr. Obama reflects on his presidency, admitting that he let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend Democrat,” realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” and perhaps should have “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” in the stimulus. The New York Times Caucus Blog

As an aside, earlier in the interview Obama claims that if the Republicans take control they will have to be more than the party of “no.” Then, in the quote above, he claims that he learned he should have let the Republicans insist on tax cuts in the stimulus. If they were actually the party of “no” then how does it square with the idea that he should have let them do what they were asking to do?

Anyway, Obama is now telling us what many thinking people already knew and that is, there are no shovel ready projects. This means that the government wasted a trillion dollars teaching Obama something that people with actual experience already knew. The only thing that was shovel ready was the stuff Obama was shoveling.

This was a trillion dollar teaching moment.

An economic beer summit would have been much more cost effective.

Mr. Obama, the teaching moment here is that you should listen to people who actually know what they are doing and who have actual work experience.

I wonder how much more money we are going to waste teaching this guy?

At least he can claim to have received the most expensive education in history…

Cave Canem!
Never surrender, never submit.
Big Dog

Gunline

If you enjoy what you read consider signing up to receive email notification of new posts. There are several options in the sidebar and I am sure you can find one that suits you. If you prefer, consider adding this site to your favorite feed reader. If you receive emails and wish to stop them follow the instructions included in the email.



Print This Post

If you enjoy what you read consider signing up to receive email notification of new posts. There are several options in the sidebar and I am sure you can find one that suits you. If you prefer, consider adding this site to your favorite feed reader. If you receive emails and wish to stop them follow the instructions included in the email.

53 Responses to “The Trillion Dollar Teaching Moment”

  1. Adam says:

    I’m still waiting for folks on here to talk about how narcissistic Obama is. You know how often narcissists can recognize their own flaws and admit them publicly. Classic narcissism, right? Right?

    What I find dishonest about your assessment of the interview is that while Obama says there’s no such thing as shovel-ready he is not saying we wasted $1 trillion. As an aside, you need to remember again that infrastructure spending was only part of the money. Almost half the money was aimed at tax cuts and money that went to state and local governments.

    If you read the actual interview transcript you’ll see that what Obama is saying about “shovel ready” in fact is that the public and political perception of the package was wrong because they sold it to us wrong. They should not have sold “shovel ready” when most of the infrastructure spending was going to take time. He is not saying the infrastructure spending is a bust or a waste.

    As far as the taxes and the party of “no” goes Obama’s point is simply that he should have had the sense to let the GOP find ways to compromise on the package instead of just placing compromises in from the start. He feels the GOP (and in tern their constituents) might have been more accepting of the package had they felt they had fought and won compromises over tax cuts.

    • Big Dog says:

      He is absolutely narcissistic and we can hear that by how often we are told we do not understand or it is someone else’s fault. He did not admit he was wrong, only thta he failed to recognize something.

      If he sold things as shovel ready and, as you state, things take time, then he did not KNOW what he was talking about. Your sin is that he did not sell it right but he did according to what he thought. He believed that these jobs were ready to go. Listen to his MANY quotes on the subject. Right now shovels are hitting the ground.

      He either did not know or he lied to make it look like we needed it right away (remember, we must act now) when in reality any benefit would be years down the road.

      The trillion dollars has been wasted. They are tearing up good roads to pour new concrete.

      As far As compromise, the GOP tried to compromise but let us remember what Obama said, I WON.

      And if they had ideas and he should have let them have credit for them then they could not be the party of no. That is a made up name to push an unpopular agenda. And the word no is not bad. Liberals have trouble with it but we use it quite a lot. We tell our children no and when we tell our representatives no we expect them to listen.

      Obama will find out in November what happens when politicians do not listen. As for his interview, it is a concession and he is making excuses for what is going to happen. Many is his party cannot be happy about him saying it now instead of on November 3rd.

      The Dems will lose, that is unless they can find more ways to disenfranchise voters. They found out how to do it to the military because they want to keep a group that is mostly conservative from voting.

    • Big Dog says:

      Is there anything you will not spin for this man and his party?

      • Adam says:

        The better question: Is there anything Obama says that you won’t distort or misquote?

        • Big Dog says:

          I have done neither. It is like racism, if you think it is racism then you call it that whether it is or not because it fits Adam’s definition.

          Much like that, you call something a misquote or distortion whether it is or not.

          The thing is, you use their own words and it still is not good enough.

        • Adam says:

          You relate Obama’s suggestion about shovel-ready projects to the idea that we wasted all that money. Unless you can find that idea in the interview I’d suggest you are distorting what Obama was saying.

    • Blake says:

      Bari lies- so his narcissism is a “lie” he tells others to engender “sympathy”- I have a brother who does the same BS.

  2. Adam says:

    “He did not admit he was wrong, only that he failed to recognize something.”

    Because admitting he failed at something is so much different than saying he was wrong?

    “Is there anything you will not spin for this man and his party?”

    Correcting your distortion of what Obama said in his interview is me spinning for him? And it’s not just his party. I am a member of the Democratic Party after all.

    “The trillion dollars has been wasted. They are tearing up good roads to pour new concrete.”

    Again I must remind you that we did not spend $1 trillion on building roads so I wish you wouldn’t repeat numbers that have no basis in reality.

    “He either did not know or he lied to make it look like we needed it right away (remember, we must act now) when in reality any benefit would be years down the road.”

    No where in the interview is Obama suggesting he was wrong to fight to pass the stimulus right away. I’m not sure where you got that idea.

    “Obama will find out in November what happens when politicians do not listen.”

    I thought your side used to like it when the President or members of Congress did what they thought was right regardless of public opinion. Be careful. We wouldn’t want it to get out that the GOP is now fully in favor of ruling by polls.

    “The Dems will lose, that is unless they can find more ways to disenfranchise voters.”

    Perhaps you can outline for us again some ways that they have disenfranchised voters. And please tell us how the numerous problems with overseas military voters is the fault of or result of actions by the Democrats.

  3. Mr. Ogre says:

    I still hate the media lies — Republicans, once again, are and have been, completely incapable of “blocking” anything Obama and the Democrats wanted. EVERY last thing that failed to pass had at least 1 Democrat opposed to it, period.

  4. Big Dog says:

    We do not rule by polls, we rule by representation and when a politician goes against the majority of his district then he is failing his constituents.

    I equated Obama’s admission to the failed stimulus. Nowhere did I say he said it. I said that we had to waste a trillion dollars, which we did, for him to learn.

    I never claimed he said any such thing so not only are you spinning for him, you are distorting what I wrote.

    • Adam says:

      “I said that we had to waste a trillion dollars, which we did, for him to learn.”

      Fair enough. I take back my claim that you are distorting what he wrote and I extend my view that you are incorrect in how you frame his statements as evidence that the stimulus was a waste.

      Less than 10% ($105 billion) of the stimulus was geared toward shovel-ready projects. While it is clear the construction spending did not go out as quickly or as successfully as was hoped (or hyped if you like) by the administration, that does not give you basis to suggest we wasted $1 trillion.

      • Adam says:

        I incorrectly stated “less than 10%” when the number is actually 13%. Roughly $105 billion of the $787 was geared toward “shovel-ready” projects.

        But for the record, the shovel-ready projects were not the only thing about the stimulus that was said to be needed quickly. One reason for the tax cuts is that they were to take effect quicker than the spending which was to level off nearly 2 years after the bill went into law.

      • Big Dog says:

        The basis is the economy, the malaise, the lack af any real positive impact.

        We spent a lot of money and got little for it.

        I was not the one claiming they would be creating 100k jobs a month and all that (government does not create private sector jobs). It is obvious that the regime’s policies are causing businesses to hold money and wait to see what is going to happen. Who can blame them?

        And a lot of that stimulus went to pay back political favors. Barney Fwank did some of that as did many involved in the non stimulating stimulus.

  5. Big Dog says:

    Amazingly, you are admitting that cutting taxes is best to stimulate.

    However, only 3% of stimulus involved corporate tax cuts and most all of the other things were tax credits. These are not tax cuts. A credit is a one time event where as a cut is a long term thing.

    The tax credits did not help. The homebuyer one helped people who bought a home but it cost taxpayers and once it was over the housing market went farther down.

    The cash for clunkers was a clunker. Taxpayers paid for some of the ocst of other people’s cars and after it was over problems arose again. Not to mention that the tax credit ended up costing more than expected and was only stimulating for a small period of time.

    The costs outweigh the benefits.

    • Adam says:

      “Amazingly, you are admitting that cutting taxes is best to stimulate.”

      I doubt you can find that in what I said though “best” is open to interpretation. I simply said that tax cuts impact quicker than spending which we’ll both agree is the truth. I did not however say they had more impact than spending which I consider to be an important part of being the best.

      “The costs outweigh the benefits.”

      Not according to a growing list of experts on the subject. You consider each of them conveniently biased and unreliable of course so I won’t list them anymore.

  6. Adam says:

    “The basis is the economy, the malaise, the lack of any real positive impact.”

    I think we can hardly argue about whether there was a positive impact when you cite no sources to back up your view and discount or flat out ignore every source I cite to back up my view.

    • Big Dog says:

      I have provided plenty of sources including the list of experts who do not agree. The thing about experts is they all have different opinions. History tells us this does not work.

      What resources do you want again? The list of tax credits, not tax cuts, that were there? The math to show that corporate tax cuts were 3%? They have been posted before.

      And you provide sources with which you agree and I provide sources with which I agree and we clash because not everyone can be right.

  7. Adam says:

    “Military ballots from blue states run by Dems. How did everyone else get it right?”

    You’ll have to elaborate for me.

  8. Adam says:

    “And you provide sources with which you agree and I provide sources with which I agree and we clash because not everyone can be right.”

    The CBO and others believe that the economy would have lost more jobs and declined further in GDP without the stimulus. Please list any sources you have that run counter to that view.

    • Mike Radigan says:

      Just how much worse do you think it could be than what it is now?

      http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/10/long-road-to-job-recovery/

      • Adam says:

        Is that a joke? Or do you think unemployment magically tops off at 10% and GDP stops shrinking somewhere around -15%? It could have been a lot worse and a growing number of economists will tell you that the stimulus made things better.

        • Big Dog says:

          And just as many economists will tell you the stimulus made things worse. UE will continue to rise unless the numbers are manipulated.

          The facts are the facts. Certainly, if one throws a huge quantity of money at something it will have an impact. Turtle tunnels, studying hookers in Taiwan, BS like this is not stimulating the US. It is a trillion dollar anchor.

          Reagan did not spend trillions of dollars and he gave us recovery after Carter. Incidentally, Carter paved the way for Reagan and I think Obama is doing the same for the next conservative president.

          Economists will tell us things are better. The people won’t and they are the ones affected. And like I said, there are plenty of economists who think it was a disaster.

          But you guys are playing global warming all over. Claim a bunch of experts agree so it must be so and anyone else who disagrees is a denier…

        • Mike Radigan says:

          Adam said, “Is that a joke? Or do you think unemployment magically tops off at 10% and GDP stops shrinking somewhere around -15%? It could have been a lot worse and a growing number of economists will tell you that the stimulus made things better.”

          I thought the stimulus would magically top off the unemployment rate at 8%. Well I didn’t, but Obama…

          We are a trillion more in debt and as the liberal NY Times graph depicts job growth reversed mid 2010 and if the trend continues it will be 2019 before all the lost jobs are regained.

          And just what is that trillion buying us? Your economists are like weathermen. And just as many say the stimulus wouldn’t work. The proof is in the pudding.

        • Blake says:

          All the stimulus did was put a new coat of paint over rotting wood- it wasn’t a fix, it was a disguise.
          And, if Bari was really concerned about our nation, he would have addressed the issue of JOBS first, rather than use the fear and uncertainty to push through all this unneeded BS.

    • Big Dog says:

      Once again, t he CBO ONLY issues reports based on what information it receives. You, as a computer guy should know GIGO. I could provide the CBO with things to score that would say we would be out of debt in a year. They can ONLY score what they are given. So if Obama gives them the right items they can predict that it would be worse. With a different set of numbers they would predict it would be better. A politician will provide the numbers that will make it look worse to get what he wants.

      Never let a crisis go to waste.

      Case in point. The precious CBO scored Obamacare as saving money based on the numbers the Congress gave it. Once it passed and the CBO scored the ENTIRE bill (not the cherry picked parts) they said it will end up costing money.

      You really should pay attention so you would not continue to cite them as if they are credible. They can only score what they are given.

      • Adam says:

        “They can only score what they are given.”

        You are sometimes correct about that but not this time. Yes the CBO must go with what Congress gives them when it comes to judging the impact of a future bill. The difference here is the CBO is not judging a future bill and they did not get information from Obama to develop their models.

        As far as GIGO goes, you mistake me for a gray haired COBOL programmer. That’s too old school for me.

  9. Adam says:

    “I thought the stimulus would magically top off the unemployment rate at 8%.”

    That’s just turning an estimated 8% high mark into a promise which Obama’s team never made. You know better by now because we’ve been over this more than once.

    “…if the trend continues it will be 2019 before all the lost jobs are regained.”

    We lost 8 million jobs. The stimulus was only at best supposed to create 4 million. It’s somewhere between 2 and 3 million estimated so far so not quite as good as hoped by far from a failure. Just because it will take years to return to a normal job state is no argument against the stimulus.

    • Big Dog says:

      We have lost nearly 3 million jobs since the stimulus was enacted.

      • Adam says:

        While technically true, your statement is misleading. The worst job shedding ended in October 2009. We lost about 3 million between the time the bill passed and that October. From October onward we are at a net increase of about 600,000 jobs (800,000 private sector). Private sector job growth has been positive for 10 months straight but of course needs to get a whole lot better.

        • Big Dog says:

          But that bill was supposed to rapidly create jobs (a three letter word).

        • Adam says:

          First of all it was not supposed to rapidly create jobs. It was supposed to rapidly start to slow job losses. It was always geared to create around 3 million to 4 million jobs by the end of Q4 2010, and not make significant impacts in job growth in 2009. If you don’t believe me or think I’m spinning then please consult the Romer Bernstein report again.

          Second, as far as what impact it did have on 2009 it’s important to note that any impact on job creation was masked by continued large scale net job losses that slowed finally around the end of 2009.

          To put out more accurate numbers: Between March 2009 and December 2009 the economy shed 3.235 million jobs. From January 2010 to September 2010 (with the last 2 months being preliminary of course) there has been a net increase of 613,000 jobs. There has been a net increase of 863,000 in the private sector this year.

          So again while you’re technically correct about the net value of job growth over the last 20 months you are hiding the positive job growth of the last 12 months in the abysmal job losses of the previous 10.

  10. Adam says:

    “UE will continue to rise unless the numbers are manipulated.”

    Contrary to some conservatives beliefs, the numbers have not been manipulated and won’t be in the future. Why would they need to?

    Unemployment will rise if a large number of people start to look for jobs again quickly and their numbers come back into the equation. One way it won’t rise is if it continues like it does now where there’s just a small trickle of job growth (private sector anyway) and people slowly return to the job hunt while others still continue to stop searching.

    “Reagan did not spend trillions of dollars and he gave us recovery after Carter.”

    When did the economy recover? Reagan slashed taxes in 1981 but in 1982, 1983 and 1984 he signed off on tax 4 different and massive tax increases that erased over half the tax cuts. If you like Obama could follow that model but of course if he had signed off on tax increases the same as Reagan then the tea party would burn Washington DC down.

  11. Big Dog says:

    Obviously there will not be 3-4 million jobs created by the end of this year.

    The unemployment rate of the last 10 years was nowhere near what it has been over the last 20 months. At no time in the last 10 years was it above 8.2 seasonally adjusted and 6.5 not seasonally adjusted. Link

    “During the 2000-2010 period, the United States will actually lose more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs, a stunning reversal of economic fortune.” Link

    Remove the jobs Obama has lost and it is a a different story. There might not have been a huge number of jobs created but attribute the early losses to the Clinton recession that took hold at the end of his time in office and remove the time since Democrats took control of Congress and the numbers are not bad at all. Perhaps if the Democrats had listened when they were warned about 15 times that Fannie and Freddie were going to be a problem we might not have had the recession (or it would not have been as bad).

    Bwaney Fwank was more worried about a fannie at Fannie than doing the right thing.

    And here is a news flash: ALL TAXES HIT HOME.

    • Adam says:

      “Obviously there will not be 3-4 million jobs created by the end of this year.”

      There will have been between 2 and 3 million created or saved according to several prominent groups of economists. I know you and others claim you can’t measure a saved job but you can estimate it using models.

      The problem with that is people are hurting so bad it’s like pouring a teaspoon of water in a 50 gallon drum and asking us if we notice how full the bucket is now. There’s a deep hole to climb out of and it’s going to take years to recover.

      “Remove the jobs Obama has lost … attribute the early losses to the Clinton recession…”

      So basically your method is to look at what Democrats control and then blame that on job losses? A Democratic President is to blame for the first Bush recession. A Democratic Congress is to blame for the second Bush recession. A Democratic President is to blame for making the 2nd Bush recession worse? It’s all a little convenient don’t you think?

      So if the GOP takes the House and we get a double dip recession I hope you let me say : “Things were fine until the Republicans took over!”

      Just for the record again though, there’s was no such thing as a Clinton recession. Despite who you might argue is to blame for the recession it still happened under Bush.

      • Big Dog says:

        There was no such thing as the Clinton recession.

        “The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee has determined that a peak in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in late 2000. A peak marks the end of an expansion and the beginning of a recession. The determination of a peak date in March is thus a determination that the expansion that began in March 1991 ended in November 2000 and a recession began.”

        Since Clinton was in office until January 2001 and Bush took over in January 2001 and since November 2000 comes before January 2001 it would seem the recession started on Clinton’s watch.

        Yes, there was a Clinton recession.

        And no, it is not convenient to slice out parts. However, you want to blame the last 10 years on Bush and Republicans without looking at when things went bad. Things went bad when Democrats took over in 2007. That is easy to see from the numbers.

        This does not mean Republicans had nothing to do with it because people from both parties contributed to the mess. You and your ilk keep harping on the bad Bush years or the bad 10 years without recognizing the things that happened because of Democrats at that time.

        There are plenty of remarks by Clinton’s own people showing it started under him.

    • Adam says:

      “And here is a news flash: ALL TAXES HIT HOME.”

      But somehow Reagan is remembered as this great tax slasher and not for being a freedom hating socialist wealth redistributor? Adjusting for inflation, Reagan signed into law the largest tax increase in American history even surpassing the Clinton tax increase.

  12. Big Dog says:

    The date has been reported as March 2001 and November 2000.

    You are factually correct to say, if the March date were actually true, that is happened on Bush’s watch. However, all sane people know that nothing that Bush could have done in two months would create a recession.

    The real date, according to many, is November 2000.

    Regardless of which date anyone picks, there was a recession in 2000 and it belonged to Clinton.

    “Leaving no room for Keynesian Pollyanna’s to find a chink of light, it also revealed that the overall economy had ground to a halt. But what is of the strictest importance about both NAPM manufacturing findings is that they narrowed the beginning of the recession down to about the middle of 2000 . Well guess who was the then president?” Link

    There indeed was a recession in 2000.

    Or here

    • Adam says:

      A recession is a very specifically defined term which is declared to have a beginning and end which has little to do with causes or when things started going south no matter what anyone says. Calling it the “Clinton recession” is simply invalid.

    • Adam says:

      “The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee has determined that a peak in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in late 2000.”

      I assume you got that from Wikipedia but I very much doubt you’ll find NBER saying such a thing.

      Here is what NBER did say which we can verify:

      The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee has determined that a peak in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in March 2001.

      It’s possible NBER revised their stance to say something about “late 2000” but I cannot find evidence of this and I assume this has simply been incorrectly stated in Wikipedia. Let me know if you find anything.

      • Adam says:

        I was correct. The Wikipedia entry was revised just a few weeks ago to say “in late 2000” instead of “in March 2001”.

        As far as I can tell NBER has not revised it’s date from March 2001 as the start date.

        Incidentally, each of the edits made by that user around that time were to change the start date of the recession on multiple wikipedia pages. I cannot find any source to suggest that the date was actually changed.

  13. Big Dog says:

    Here is a source that says the recession actually started as indicated in Wiki. Notice that the data used by the NBER was revised and using their standard the recession began in 2000.

    Just because NBER did not revisit the data, which shows the recession earlier (using their methodology) is no reason for the rest of us to take their word as hard and fast.

    They did not revisit the issue after the data was revised.

    The facts are the facts.

    • Adam says:

      “Here is a source that says the recession actually started as indicated in Wiki.”

      Let me quote from that source:

      So, while I think reasonable people can disagree on the starting point, for me, a revisiting of the data tells me the recession of 2001 took place in…2001.

      If I’m not mistaken the source you quote says exactly the opposite: The recession really did begin in March 2001. What would be the motive of NBER not revising the date if the data no longer matched March 2001?

      • Big Dog says:

        Yes the source says this after showing data that shows otherwise. The data is the key and it is used the way that the NBER does. The recession started in 2000. Too many sources have revisited it and come to that conclusion.

  14. Big Dog says:

    And you do realize the NBER is not an official agency. It is private and non partisan. The government makes no such announcements.

    However, the facts point to a revision that should have been made and many people say it started in late 2000. One of NBER reports indicates they saw the downturn during that time and did not feel it merited calling it then. The revised data shows that it actually was then, once again using NBER’s own standards.

    • Adam says:

      “And you do realize the NBER is not an official agency.”

      That should be clear to anyone that has done even the slightest research into the organization. Yet, it is the authoritative source for declarations of the start and end dates of recessions. Few would question it’s role in that department.

      “However, the facts point to a revision…”

      Wrong. See above.

      • Big Dog says:

        The data indeed points to a different time once it is used according to their matrix.

        • Adam says:

          “Yes the source says this after showing data that shows otherwise.”

          The source simply points out that using one set of the data does point to a earlier date but that there are several sets of data that NBER uses that still arrives at the original date and that no, the date did not need to be changed.

          From the beginning conservatives have sought to have the date changed so it didn’t start under Bush so you could call it the “Clinton recession” officially. NBER does not agree and it is their methodology that matters not the view of revisionist conservatives.

  15. Big Dog says:

    As usual, you are wrong. Every source that uses the NBER’s data shows it began in 2000.

    It was Clinton’s recession and if you all were not giving Lewinsky’s you would notice history and not have to rewrite it.