Home > Federal, National > Flashback: Does this seem eerily familiar?-“Nobody shoots Santa claus”. and the Blue-State Bonanza for Americorps

Flashback: Does this seem eerily familiar?-“Nobody shoots Santa claus”. and the Blue-State Bonanza for Americorps

June 12, 2010

Nobody Shoots Santa Claus

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected in 1932 to solve America’s greatest economic crisis, the Great Depression. In his first year he increased federal spending 83% and federal debt 73%. Roosevelt created new federal agencies: the Civil Works Administration, the Works Progress Administration, the National Recovery Administration. By 1934, unemployment was 22% and the stock market languished at just 25% of its pre-crash value. The party in power usually loses seats in mid-term elections; in 1934, Democrat prospects looked bleak. Yet they gained seats. How did Roosevelt and the Democrats do it?

When your economic program fails, resort to politics. Roosevelt spent New Deal money where it helped Democrats most. Maine was strongly Republican but held its elections in September, not November; it was used as a test case. One Democrat Congressman bragged that “Maine has received $108 million from New Deal agencies.” Naval contracts flowed to Bath, Maine, while Eastport received funds for a new seawall and a bridge rebuild. In the 1934 mid-term elections, Democrats captured two of three House seats in Maine, and nationally swept to historic victories. The Great Depression dragged on for another six years.
This is relevant today. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, AKA the “stimulus,” is an $819 billion spending package that’s supposed to revive the economy. The major spending is scheduled for 2010 through 2012, targeted for maximum political effect, just like the New Deal projects.
Government stimulus programs don’t work. Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., told Congress in 1939: “I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and we have enormous debt to boot.” In 1940, unemployment still topped 18%. Japan tried this in the 1990’s. They spent lavishly on infrastructure, piling up mountains of debt. Their economy didn’t improve; the Japanese now call the 1990’s “the lost decade.” In 2008 the U.S. ran a budget deficit of $459 billion, or 3.2% of GDP, and still the recession accelerated. The 2009 projected deficit is $1.4 trillion, or 13% of GDP. When government spends, it must raise taxes or borrow, crowding out private sector investment and stifling job creation.
Expect Democrates to promote stimulus projects. Former Governor Al Smith said of Roosevelt’s spending, “Nobody shoots Santa Claus.” He was right in one respect: people love free money. But it’s our money. Politicians give back what they’ve taken from us, pretending it’s a gift. Obama and his accomplices are turning the U.S. economy into a shovel-ready project.   It’s going to take years to dig out!
June 09, 2010

Blue-State Bonanza for Americorps Funding, an abuse and an outrage.

By Peter Wilson

This week the White House announced $234 million in grants to Americorps and other “service”-oriented nonprofits through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The press release reports:

Together with other positions in AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCC, AmeriCorps is on track to support more than 85,000 members this year, the first step towards the Serve America Act goal of 250,000 annual AmeriCorps members by the year 2017.
These numbers don’t approach the perhaps hyperbolic remark by candidate Obama in July 2008 that “[w]e’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded [as our military].” But a force of 250,000 isn’t insignificant; our Marine Corps numbers 203,000.
Analysis of the 2010 disbursements reveals gross inequalities among the states. As with ARRA stimulus money, blue states were the big winners. Overall, states that voted for Obama in 2008 garnered 81% of Ted Kennedy Serve America funding, while red states were thrown a bone of the remaining 19%.
My own state of Massachusetts, home to around 2% of the U.S. population, was the big winner, with 12.61% of the funding, which will support service jobs for 6,278 people. One nonprofit called Jumpstart is receiving funding for 1,520 employees. Apparently it doesn’t hurt to have the Act named after our former Senator.
The disparity among states was striking: The top ten states received 70% of the money, while the bottom ten states received a mere 1.45%. The top nine states all voted for Obama in 2008, while five of the bottom ten were red states.
Total Competitive Grants
$234,400,720





2008 Election
Massachusetts
$29,569,006
12.61%
Obama
New York
$28,141,957
12.01%
Obama
California
$20,176,073
8.61%
Obama
Maryland
$15,834,406
6.76%
Obama
Washington
$14,878,192
6.35%
Obama
District of Columbia
$13,529,798
5.77%
Obama
Minnesota
$13,456,794
5.74%
Obama
Wisconsin
$10,967,327
4.68%
Obama
Pennsylvania
$9,374,913
4.00%
Obama
Mississippi

______________________

$9,191,691

___________

3.92%

______

McCain

_______





Top Ten States
$165,120,157
 70.44%





North Dakota
0
0
McCain
South Carolina
0
0
McCain
Virginia
0
0
Obama
Delaware
$126,000
0.05%
Obama
South Dakota
$288,119
0.12%
McCain
Kansas
$537,946
0.23%
McCain
Connecticut
$576,339
0.25%
Obama
Vermont
$612,001
0.26%
Obama
Nevada
$617,500
0.26%
McCain
Arkansas
$648,663
0.28%
McCain
Bottom Ten States
$3,406,568
1.45%

The way the program redistributes federal tax receipts isn’t even a case of “spreading the wealth around”; many of the wealthiest states receive the most funding. Massachusetts, 6th out of 50 in median household income, receives twelve times the funding of West Virginia, 49thth out of 50. The District of Columbia, with 600,000 residents, receives 18 times the funding of Alabama, population 4.7 million. In other words, D.C. ranks 11th in median household income, and it receives 140 times as much funding per capita as Alabama, which is 46th out of 50.
Since these grants were competitive, it is possible that Massachusetts simply is home to more of the breed of entrepreneur who can create a viable service organization that attracts government funding. Furthermore, blue states are more likely than red states to have been swept up in the service learning mania that has infiltrated our schools. It stands to reason that there is greater demand for our children to prove their moral worth by serving others, so our states require more money.
And there is a slim possibility that Chicago-style slush fund political payback played a role in these allocations.
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