Friday, May 18, 2012
"Hello, folks. Here I am today in Hillsborough, New Hampshire standing in front of an historic stone bridge that the New Hampshire legislature voted overwhelmingly to repair. The federal government approved the grand sum of $150,000 out of federal stimulus money for the repairs at the town's and the state's request. The town also wants to turn the surrounding area into a park, but they haven't managed to come up with the money for that yet. So you might ask, am I against preserving historic structures? Uh, no. Am I against parks? Well no, of course not. But hey, it still seemed like a good idea for me to pose in front of this bridge because I can use it as a symbol of how Obama's stimulus plan was a failure. Does this bridge prove that? No, it does not. But look at it. It doesn't connect to the road. It's not a working bridge and hasn't been for many years. Actually, the plan was not even to use it as a working bridge anymore since as you can see, they built a new bridge next to the old one. So am I saying they should have torn down this piece of history? No, I'm not saying that either.
"So what am I saying? Does the decision to repair this historic and scenic artifact prove in any way that the stimulus was a failure? Actually, once again, I must admit that it does not, since undeniably this project did create some jobs. Of course I could quibble about whether jobs requiring actual physical work laying stone and concrete are real jobs. In my world, real jobs involve financial planners and analysts and bankers who raise capital to help companies outsource their labor force and escape their pension obligations. But I have to admit this bridge project did put a few people to work.
"Is this project a good example of wasteful government spending? Well I'm not saying there was any fraud or graft involved, and I have to admit that they did a nice job with the restoration. And I guess I would also have to admit that to me this project doesn't really seem all that expensive. I mean, I'm spending more myself to renovate the beach house in La Jolla than the federal government spent to repair this bridge. If you want to see some real wasteful government spending, I could show you some bridges in Iraq that cost us a hundred times what this one cost. Those contractors really know how to pad their bills! But I digress.
"Who cares if this bridge project created some employment and might stimulate additional development in the area? Who cares whether this project represents wasteful spending or not? Or whether people around here seem to like it. What the bridge truly represents is what I like to think of as a concrete metaphor supporting a false narrative. It's a photo op, really, and you fools in the media are once again suckers enough to fall for it. The point is that I have to keep saying that the stimulus was a failure, even though almost all the economists who have studied it have found that the stimulus helped us out of recession. So because I can't actually prove that the stimulus was a failure, it's helpful to show a visual symbol of wasteful government spending. Even if it's not really wasteful. But what the heck. It's in New Hampshire, which might be a swing state this year. So I get a chance to visit, and maybe stay in one of my homes tonight. That will be nice.
"Thanks for watching and covering this pseudo-event. I'm counting on the fact that nobody will remember what I said about it. All they will see is a picture of me standing in front of a bridge that doesn't connect to the road. If enough people believe that that means anything at all, I've got another bridge to sell them tomorrow."