Have you heard much about President Obama’s $787,000,000,000 economic “stimulus” (now estimated to cost $831,000,000,000) lately? In its last report, published in 2011, the president’s own Council of Economic Advisors released an estimate showing that, for every $317,000 in “stimulus” spending that had by then gone out the door, only one job had been created or saved. Even in Washington, that’s not considered good bang for the buck.
Moreover, that was the fifth consecutive “stimulus” report that showed this number getting progressively worse.
Alas, that was the last report we’ve seen. Never mind that Section 1513 of the “stimulus” legislation, which Obama spearheaded and signed into law, requires the executive branch to submit a new report every three months. It reads:
“In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.”
(The head of the Council of Economic Advisors, currently Alan Krueger, is appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and works in the Executive Office of the President. He is the president’s chief economic adviser.)
Indeed, the old reports that the administration released begin, “As part of the unprecedented accountability and transparency provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [the ‘stimulus’], the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) was charged with providing to Congress quarterly reports on the effects of the Recovery Act on overall economic activity, and on employment in particular.”
Section 1513 further specifies, “The first report…shall be submitted not later than 45 days after the end of the first full quarter following the date of enactment of this Act….The last report required to be submitted…shall apply to the quarter in which the [Recovery Accountability and Transparency] Board terminates under section 1530.” Section 1530 declares, “The Board shall terminate on September 30, 2013.”
In other words, the Obama administration is required by law to submit quarterly reports on the “stimulus” through the third quarter of 2013. By now, it was supposed to have released fourteen such reports. It has released only eight. The last one covered the period ending in June 2011. That’s right — 2011.
With only 58.6 percent of Americans currently employed — down 2.4 percent from the time of Obama’s first inauguration — it’s not surprising that the Obama administration doesn’t really want to fulfill it legal responsibilities and release subsequent reports on its failed “stimulus.” However, it hardly seems fair — to use one of Obama’s favorite words — that the rich and (extremely) powerful think that they can choose whether or not to abide by the laws they spearhead and sign, while the rest of us are forced to obey them.
Perhaps it’s time for the rich and powerful to do their fair share and obey the laws that they enforce against others. And perhaps this is something that the House of Representatives might want to look into.