Stimulus – “I don’t think that means what you think it means”

We keep hearing the term Stimulus, being used by Democrats so much that we could not help but come to the same conclusion as did Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) in the modern classic film The Princess Bride. Like that character, we know the meaning of the term, but the way we are hearing it used seems inaccurate.

Perhaps one of the more notable misusages of the term came from former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, when she stated in July 2010, that unemployment benefits are a stimulus – “This is one of the biggest stimulues to our economy”

At the time that then-Speaker Pelosi made the statement, the unemployment rate was 9.5%. Today it is 9.1%, not including those people that have used up the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and no longer count according to the Government. It seems this major stimulus hasn’t worked for some reason.

But Nancy Pelosi is hardly alone in her views of the economy, and what is a stimulus. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack seems to hold a similar view on what gets Americans working. In his version, Food Stamps are the key to job growth.

1 in 7 Americans are on food stamps. The highest number in the history of the nation. That’s 45.75 million people, almost treble the number of people unemployed. So the positive effect on the nation should be dramatic right?

Again, unemployment is 9.1%. But for those that think this is a lagging indicator, that the food stamp stimulus just needs a bit of time to kick in as Secretary Vilsack is implying, here is a chart of the growth in food stamps

Chart of food stamps since 1975
Chart of food stamps since 1975

Now compare that to a chart on unemployment

Unemployment rate from 2009 through 2011 to date
Unemployment rate from 2009 through 2011 to date

And just in case there was any further question, here is a chart (up to August 2011) of how long people have been unemployed

Comparison Chart of average weeks unemployed
Comparison Chart of average weeks unemployed - 1950 - 2011

At any point is there anyone, besides Secretary Vilsack, that sees a benefit to the nation based on an increase in the need for food stamps? Does anyone note an improvement based on the increase of those in need of help to feed themselves and their families?

When we consider what is being said, that being unemployed or needing food stamps is a positive for the national economy, we have to wonder what is going on in the minds of the Democrat leadership. If these are positive things, as they have stated, what other “positives” are they planning?

Considering that both Pelosi and Secretary Vilsack are in constant contact with President Obama, does that make anyone else a bit concerned with what his new (and incredibly late) jobs program will be in September?

Lastly, we dispute the conclusion of Secretary Vilsack that people have been unaware of food stamps and that the Obama Administration has had “success” in making them aware of the program and getting them signed up. Americans have long been aware of food stamps. We believe that prior to recent history, most Americans neither wanted nor had as great a need for food stamps as right now. Which is anything but success, again implying a positive.

As we have asked before, is this the kind of “Change” that President Obama meant when he campaigned in 2008? Is this the “transformation” that he intended? Because if his Administration can call this success, and the other leaders of the Democrat Party feel this is beneficial, we are led to conclude its exactly what he wanted.

Draw your own conclusions, but these are their words and the facts of what is happening.


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