South Carolina government agencies have spent a total of $4.25 billion in federal “stimulus” funds through August 31, 2011 – according to the latest information made available by the S.C. Comptroller General’s office.
Now that this massive investment in government is winding down, though, has it accomplished its objective? In other words, has it “stimulated” the South Carolina economy the way its proponents assured us that it would?
Clearly not …
Despite using stimulus funds (and statewide fee increases) to pass the two largest budgets in state history (here and here), South Carolina’s jobless rate has climbed to 10.9 percent – the third highest rate in the nation. Meanwhile the state’s underemployment rate – a broader, more accurate measure of joblessness – has climbed to 18.3 percent.
Needless to say, we opposed the federal “stimulus” from the very beginning. In fact, we consistently referred to it as exactly what it ended up being – a “bureaucratic bailout” at both the state and national level.
“It is, quite simply, the worst possible response to our current economic crisis that America could have come up with – making its taxpayers fund an unprecedented bailout of failed bureaucracies at every level of government with money we don’t have,” we wrote back in February of 2009 when this anti-free market abomination was signed into law.
That’s exactly what’s happened, too. The only thing the “stimulus” has done in South Carolina is dump more money into the same failed bureaucracies – which should be a lesson to anyone still foolish enough to believe that “more government spending” is the answer to our state’s chronic problems.