Looking Back

I sometimes look back on things that I’ve done and am very happy with the way things turned out.  There are other times when I look back and can’t believe how bad the outcome was as a result of my actions.

I’m sure that’s part of being human, and until we have better robots, the folks who make our laws will always be human too, which is why mistakes are sometimes made.

Remember the “Stimulus” bill?  We happened to be in D.C. and touring the Capitol building on the day the bill was printed out, and passed.  You may remember that after unanimously voting to have two weeks for discussion on the bill after it was finished, the bill was released late at night, and a vote took place the next afternoon.  While we were there, we heard objections to the early vote, but it took place anyway.  Oh, and the bill was over 1,000 pages long, so only a robot could have read it in 12 hours.

Anyhoo, the stimulus bill was intended to get the economy going and put lots of people to work.  Some people did get jobs, and some other people kept jobs they might not have.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office made a little report last week.  In it they said that the impact of the bill was less than 0.2% added to our Gross Domestic Product.  Unfortunately, the Stimulus increased the national debt by $836 billion, which was way more than advertised.

It’s easy to doze off when people talk about big numbers, but think of it this way: each of the 300,000 jobs created by the stimulus bill cost more than $2.8 million.

I was just thinking that maybe if the time would have been allowed, as agreed upon, to read the bill, and properly debate and evaluate it, perhaps things would have turned out differently, but then again, probably not.

The stimulus bill was intended to help things along during a rough time.  Some people called for tax cuts and less regulation back then, to make it easier for companies to hire more employees, but after the financial crisis, that didn’t seem to many people to be a good plan.  In retrospect, it might actually have been better than what we ended up doing.

I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off if nothing had been done.  Most legislators, and so far all presidents, are men, and men like to solve problems.  But sometimes doing something doesn’t help, and might make things worse.  Sometimes leaving people to their own devices works better than spending billions of dollars.

But, that’s just speculation on my part.  If you’re one of the people who got a $2.8 million job, I’m happy for you.  But, I’d bet you wish you had gotten the money instead of the job!


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