Early in his presidency, President Obama introduced and the Democrat controlled Congress adopted what they believed was an $850 billion Keynesian stimulus plan. However, it predictably failed to grow the US economy as he expected. There are multiple reasons for its failure. Not enough was directed to infrastructure construction spending. Taxpayers struggling with excess debt used the extended tax reductions to pay off credit card balances. Giving away many billions of dollars in the form of food stamps and other welfare payments and as loans (which later defaulted) to reward green energy companies rewarded his political base. Although almost all welfare payments are spent, they have an insignificant multiplier effect. They grow the National Debt because they stimulate the creation of mostly non-tax-paying jobs and do not generate significant tax revenues for the federal government or the states to offset the expenditures.
His stimulus program should have been designed exclusively for projects that would have generated hundreds of thousands of tax-paying jobs and income for the tax-paying entities receiving the contracts. One way to do so would have been to use a large percentage of the stimulus to subsidize shovel-ready state infrastructure projects to repair and improve our decaying highways, bridges, tunnels and airports.
Despite the failure of his stimulus plan, the Obama administration continues its unprecedented expansion of welfare benefits for the poor leading to the unending rise in the National Debt. His main effort after adopting the stimulus plan went into adopting Obamacare which is an abomination. It is not only destroying the healthcare industry, and causing the conversion of forty hour per week jobs to part-time jobs, but also creates new types of welfare subsidies for people with pre-existing conditions, the poor, and low-income workers that have to be paid for. Obamacare was passed and President Obama was reelected based on an elaborate series of lies which were intended to, and with the aid of a politicized press, succeeded in preventing the American voters from learning the truth about the required major changes in healthcare policies and the outrageous excessive Obamacare premiums and deductibles required to be paid by the young and healthy middle class and businesses to fund the cost of the Obamacare subsidies.
Fortunately, while the president’s economic policies were failing, the low-interest rates maintained by the Fed over many years promoted a rise in stock prices that promoted spending that grew the GDP and generated tax revenues that contributed to the reduction in the deficit. A major stimulus to our economy was also supplied by fracking. Although conducted only on private land and impeded by President Obama because of his generally unfounded environmental concerns, fracking generated enormous revenues and created millions of tax-paying jobs in the oil and gas, steel, pipe-line, auto and railroad industries. Fracking grew the GDP and limited the rise in the deficit because it produced a multiplier effect on our GDP that the president’s stimulus program failed to achieve.
We now face a serious danger that our economic growth will stagnate because the increases in oil and natural gas production from fracking in a stagnating world economy has caused a temporary glut of supply and a precipitous drop in oil and natural gas prices. The expected large economic benefit from increased consumer spending and reduced costs to business resulting from hundreds of billions of dollars of reduced energy costs may be more that offset by reduced capital expenditures for drilling new wells, employee layoffs and debt defaults in the oil and gas industry, reduced demand for steel pipe and pipeline and rail services and trucks.
Now, after his inept policies have added many trillions of dollars to and doubled the size of our federal debt, President Obama is proposing a true Keynesian stimulus by seeking funding for transportation infrastructure. He blames Republicans in Congress, whom he has refused to negotiate with on most issues and consistently mocked and abused throughout his presidency, for creating grid lock and being the cause the government shutdown that he encouraged and exacerbated for political reasons. Looking back, we see that President Obama has repeatedly violated the Constitution and acted like a “banana republic” dictator while dangerously steering our economy toward socialism and communism.
The Republican controlled Congress will have the opportunity to take control of and stimulate the economy by (i) funding the repair and upgrading of our decaying transportation infrastructure, (ii) strengthening our military, (iii) improving homeland security and (iv) eliminating the Obamacare mandates. Despite his veto threats, President Obama will find it difficult to prevent passage of spending to improve our economy and our safety. However, if Republicans listen to the inept economists who insist on austerity to reduce the budget deficit and the National Debt or if they politicize the spending as the Obama administration does, they will fail.
Even though the spending programs proposed above will provide a Keynesian stimulus to our economy, we will need enormous amounts of capital to pay for the needed transportation construction projects across the country. Instead of complaining repeatedly as President Obama does about growing wealth discrepancies we should be seeking ways to encourage privately held wealth to partner with government to finance infrastructure construction projects. Our safety, domestic production and quality of life will clearly benefit from the improved infrastructure.
I attempted to address the financing problem in my book published in March 2013 entitled “Perpetuating American Greatness After The Fiscal Cliff”. I proposed changing our tax laws to enable the creation of “Jump Start America Bonds” to encourage American corporations with trillions of dollars parked overseas to finance domestic transportation infrastructure construction projects. Perpetuating American greatness is at issue.