In the Tea Party debate Monday night Gov. Rick Perry of Texas claimed that the stimulus package passed in 2009 didn’t create “one single job.”
“He (Obama) had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus. It created zero jobs, $400-plus billion dollars in this package. And I can do the math on that one. Half of zero jobs is going to be zero jobs.”
So let’s take a look at stimulus spending in Texas using that state’s own website to track that spending. Texas received more than $800 million explicitly earmarked to pay salaries for public school teachers so they wouldn’t have to be laid off, which didn’t create any new jobs but prevented thousands of lost jobs. It received more than $250 million for construction work on schools but that work was apparently done by ghosts.
Texas received $160 million for construction work on water treatment facilities, $326 million for weatherization projects, almost $600 million for low income housing projects; apparently, all the work done on all of those projects was done by no one at all. There was $25 million to update HVAC systems in public schools, which somehow managed to get done without employing a single person. Not a single person was employed to do any of those things, which is pretty incredible when you think about it.
The list of construction projects funded by the stimulus package is very long. Perry’s administration received over $17 billion in stimulus funds. $2.8 billion of that went for infrastructure projects. Did they somehow manage to spend all of that money without creating even one job?
It’s funny how every single Republican who voted against the stimulus bill and claim that it created no jobs turned right around and started writing letters to the federal agencies in control of the spending, urging them to fund projects in their district because they would create so many jobs.
You can argue over whether the stimulus bill created enough jobs given the amount of money spent. You can argue over whether the cost of those jobs was too high because of the debt increase that resulted from the spending. But to argue that the spending didn’t create a single job is so mind-numbingly idiotic that it could only be said by a Republican presidential candidate.