Liddick: Math in the Age of Obama |

Liddick: Math in the Age of Obama

Morgan Liddick

What do you call a $787 billion liberal wish list? As we now see, if you’re President Barack Obama, you call it “a good beginning.”

Instead, the bill signed last week in Denver is exactly what Sen. John McCain said it was: a generational robbery. We’ve mugged our grandchildren to save ourselves from the consequences of our avarice and fecklessness. Those who are celebrating either don’t understand this terrible news or don’t care that their descendants have been saddled with a massive mortgage to fund the desires of those who think that “justice” involves the distribution of largesse to favored classes, all paid for by someone else. And they don’t realize that much more of the same will follow.

The stated purpose of the largest spending bill in American history was to “create jobs.” So how many real-world “shovel ready” projects will be funded in Colorado? About 15 percent of what is necessary; $404 million will be provided against $4.4 billion dollars’ worth of identified need. And that is more or less the norm. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 1.2 million jobs will be created, not the 3-plus million cited as a justification in speeches heavily sprinkled with the word “crisis.” Perhaps this is the reason rhetoric around this titanic spending spree has subtly shifted from predictions of job creation to “job creation and preservation.”

Worse, most of the spending will take place more than two years down the line, when the economy ” if the history of U.S. recessions is any guide ” will be recovering. What the torrent of additional money will do then is probably best illustrated by the past, specifically the 20-percent-plus interest rates and flat growth of the “stagflation” period of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Talk about a bad economy …

Instead of the pitifully small $50 billion or so of actual job-creating stimulus wrapped in more than $700 billion of bacon, why didn’t the Democrat party decide on a much smaller, better targeted and impactful bill, which funded all “shovel-ready” transportation and infrastructure projects state and local governments had listed? That would have put millions more people back to work. But it wouldn’t have served the party’s desire to fund all the pet programs they have lusted after for more than a decade, so that was never an option.

Maybe the silver lining we’re supposed to focus on is the whole “green jobs” thing, which everyone from Gov. Ritter on down is touting as the salvation of Colorado, the nation, the world, and doubtless beyond. Much was made of the solar-power installation at the Denver Museum of Science and Technology, and the position of Team Obama on the evils of “global warming” is well known, so is this a source of hope in the president’s pet Spendasaurus? Not really.

How do we know? Because unlike “global warming,” economic projections don’t rely only on computer models. There are real-world experiments to study, one of them being California.

In 2006, Gov. Schwartzenegger signed the nation’s toughest anti-global-warming law. Like Gov. Ritter and the president, he claimed at the signing that the law would create prosperity by increasing green jobs and promoting technological advances, while lowering energy costs. All without any negative economic effects, of course.

The law was based on a study of the economic effects of such “green” legislation as cap-and-trade policies (due to become law in California in 2012) and support for new energy technologies. These effects were held to be positive, but most reviewers, including a former head of the EPA’s economic advisory committee, called the study “deeply flawed.”

The greeniacs prevailed, and the bill was passed. California has led the nation in job losses since, up to 9.3 percent unemployment in December. The state has been hemorrhaging citizens and businesses as the looming impact of environmental fascism drives people out ” a pattern Colorado’s politicians and the president evidently think is worth repeating on a larger scale. If the bill’s goals are really jobs and prosperity, this course seems unwise.

Then there was the president’s invitation to “hold us accountable” over the allocation of money to be spent. Since this legislation had been rammed through in record time, with little consultation and even less attention to its content, this was both welcome and necessary. But even a perfunctory perusal of the website touted as the public’s watchdog raised serious questions about the ratio of information to propaganda, and even of the site’s basic accuracy.

Or maybe not. After all, if you think that $80 billion dollars worth of Medicaid spending plus $25 billion worth of COBRA subsidies equals 7.5 percent of $787 billion, you might be ready for the Age of Obama.

It’s about hope, not math ” right?

Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. E-mail him at Also, comment on this column at

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