Five Years Later: How’s that Wreckovery Working Out?

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama promised the sun and the moon and the stars. That was the day, five years ago, when he signed the $800 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” President Modesty called it “the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.” He promised “unprecedented transparency and accountability.” He claimed the spending would lift “two million Americans from poverty.” Ready for the reality smackdown?

The actual cost of the $800 billion pork-laden stimulus has ballooned to nearly $2 trillion. At the time of the law’s signing, the unemployment rate hovered near 8 percent. Obama’s egghead economists projected that the jobless rate would never rise above 8 percent and would plunge to 5 percent by December 2013. The actual jobless rate in January was 6.6 percent, with an abysmal labor force participation rate of 63 percent (a teeny uptick from December, but still at a four-decade low).

Five years after the Recovery Act, 10.2 million people are out of work. The number of able-bodied Americans who have simply given up looking for work or are “not in the labor force (but) who currently want a job” has exploded. By some estimates, a record 90 million-plus people are hopelessly sitting on the sidelines.

The unemployment rate for black Americans is 12.1 percent: nearly double the national rate. The Obama campaign excoriated President George W. Bush when it exceeded 10 percent under his watch. The black teen jobless rate is now a whopping record 38 percent. Some 50 million Americans remain below the poverty level. And 47 million are now on food stamps, a third more than when Obama first took office in the halcyon days of Hope and Change.

After $150 billion in stimulus and other spending on green energy boondoggles, what does the White House have to show for it? According to The Green Corruption Files blog, 32 Obama-backed environmental firms have gone bankrupt as of February 2014. These include crony-clogged Solyndra at a cost to taxpayers of $535 million; Beacon Power, $240 million; Abound Solar, $400 million-plus; Fisker Auto, $529 million; A123, $250 million; ECOtality, $100 million; and Ener1, $118.5 million. In addition, 22 other Obama green energy projects are now in dire financial trouble.

Unprecedented transparency? Section 1513 of the Recovery Act required the White House to submit a progress report every three months. Last year, blogger Doug Powers noted: “Under their own guidelines, the administration should have released 14 of these reports by now, but they’ve only submitted eight of them for public review.” Whatevs.

Obama promised an avalanche of “shovel-ready” jobs to build vital infrastructure before signing the Recovery Act. Instead, stimulus money went to wasteful makework and non-work, including: bridges to nowhere; a California project to photograph ants; a University of North Carolina computerized dance program; a privately owned martini bar and Brazilian steakhouse in Missouri; a bogus New Hampshire beauty school; and renovations to Vice President Joe Biden’s favorite Amtrak train station in Delaware. Somehow, stimulus “Sheriff” Biden overlooked the hundreds of millions in stimulus money steered to General Services Administrations junkets in Las Vegas and Hawaii, ghost congressional districts, dead people, and those ubiquitous stimulus propaganda road signs stamped with the shovel-ready logo.

In 2012, Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor reported that more than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by the stimulus were government jobs. Dupor and another colleague also concluded that 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.”

In 2011, at a rare meeting of his Jobs and Competitiveness Council, Obama turned his “shovel-ready” vow into a punchline: “Shovel-ready was not as, uh, shovel-ready as we expected,” he cracked with a sheepish grin. The dog-and-pony Jobs Council, led by GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, giggled and cackled at Obama’s snark.

More forgotten insult to grievous injury: the telling moment when New York Times columnist David Brooks giggled on Jim Lehrer’s PBS show that Obama had told him off the record in 2009 that the shovel-ready promise was a crock, but that he sat on the truth until the Times’ Peter Baker reported the admission more than a year later in October 2010. The transcript:

JIM LEHRER: Off the record? So, then you can’t talk about it.


DAVID BROOKS: Yes, because Peter Baker is a better (reporter) than I am, because I couldn’t get him to go on the record with that thing.


JIM LEHRER: He said this to you a year ago?

DAVID BROOKS: It was obvious. I mean, you are trying to build a stimulus package. And when they were trying to build it, believe me, they would have loved to have filled it with infrastructure jobs. But the projects just didn’t exist.

While the lapdogs of the Fourth Estate snicker along with the White House about their lies and cover-up, the Wreckovery Act wreckage continues to pile up. And now the White House wants more money to burn for Porkulus Redux.

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was right when he warned five years ago that the “morally reprehensible” stimulus represented “the worst act of generational theft in our nation’s history.” It’s no joke. It’s a $2 trillion travesty built on criminal government malpractice. Take that and shovel it.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is


  • AtlHarleyDave

    On a lighter note, I’m sure there’s 100’s of millions of these $$ stashed away in bank accounts all over the world in barry’s name(s), michelle’s and the girls too, along with henry reid and nancy piglosi, et al. Good to know when the bottom drops out, he and his will be in great shape while the rest of the country starves.

  • Wally C

    We all know it is Bush’s fault, the most powerful leader ever, still affecting the country five years later!

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Well on paper at least the recovery, is well, recovering. But seems everything this current administration does, is on paper. Juan Williams on Fox keeps trumpeting how Obama has deported more illegals than any President before him. (to attack GOP not supporting immigration reform). Well true, what is unstated is that they changed the rules on what counts as deportations. (these guys are tricky) Where as before, deportations were actually folks kicked out by a judicial process, they now include those caught and returned by Border Police. No wonder the numbers went up. Way up. Or how about on paper, the consumer price index is low, really low. So low, the Fed is worried about deflation? But the consumer price index is NOT that basket of goods counted in the 70’s. Nowadays, they take out all the stuff they consider to volatile. including fuel, and many other daily used products. Have you actually noticed that your dollars are going further? Or how about, did you not notice that December job numbers were a disaster? Yet the unemployment rate went down? Wait?? Remember they were also talking about employment insurance running out for tens of thousands of people January 1st? Well as these folks dropped off the unemployment insurance rolls, they LEAVE the labor force? That is, they are no longer COUNTED, which is why the unemployment rate dropped, NOT because they had found jobs. (which explains the lower participation in the labor force rates) Imagine the perversity of a Government that BRAGS about dropping unemployment rates based on folks losing their benefits and NOT finding jobs? Or how about the endless liberal prattling about fully funded Federal pension plans? The money’s there all right, at least on paper. BUT, the actual money has been “borrowed” by the Government. Can you spell “scam”. So on paper, it’s money in the bank (so to speak) (collecting interest). BUT when the bills come due, it’ll be paid for by taxes, not by a giant happy pile of money on standby, ready for the occasion. This is the real crime of the mainstream media, they used to report these scams. Now their work is covering them up.

    • gold7406

      100% correct, Carter did the same thing with the CPI when we had roaring inflation. If these folks don’t think we have inflation, ask anyone that grocery shops,fast rising prices every few months.

    • Jeff Webb

      >>Government that BRAGS about dropping unemployment rates based on folks losing their benefits and NOT finding jobs?<<

      And after suggesting so much as a tiny wrinkle before any benefit extension, the pushover establishment Republicans (redundant) let dems get away with calling them heartless. They're so fat, stupid & lazy they actually prefer being bullied over firing back. They won't grab a microphone and say "we're for an extension, and always were; we're just waiting for the democrats to hop off their soapboxes and join us in hammering out the details on paying for it. Not even something like "interesting that we're being called heartless by the people who decided to end the benefits on this date?"

  • Brian Stover

    And I thought we were out of Grape Kool-Aid.

    • Jeff Webb

      Now close the pantry and go thank your husband for stocking up.

  • Gratefulconservative

    Time’s awasting and election day can’t come soon enough. These hi-faluting liberal looters need to be ousted!!!!